Sudan – the largest country in Africa, a country associated with famine, corrupt governments and a vicious civil war, unfortunately. However, if you keep that aside, the nation is also known for its scenic environment, the red sea, oil exports, pre-historic monuments, a rapidly improving football team and …. an upcoming freestyler.
Yes, a freestyler.
A mining engineer by profession, 24-year-old Abdullah Emad, from the capital Khartoum, is the nation’s first freestyler and is humbly appreciates that very fact.
“It’s really a nice feeling when you start a new thing in the country, especially here in Sudan. I am happy to be first freestyler in the nation and I am doing my best to spread the game in this part of the world.”
Emad has YouTube to thank in introducing him to the very skilled format of the game.
“I remember watching hours of YouTube clips of an Egyptian freestyler Abdullah a.k.a Legend and was fortunate enough to watch him live at the Open Arab Freestyle Championship in Kuwait in 2010. I have been practicing the art since then.”
Jaw dropping to the eyes of the common man, these moves require significant physical investment and time in part from the freestyler. For Emad, some tricks take less than an hour to perfect and some more than a week.
But it has led to a few incredible achievements for Emad which he will cherish forever. Among those, finishing third in a freestyle Championship held last month in Egypt.
“It was the furthest, I have ever reached in the freestyle circuit. I lost in the semifinal & finished third among Arabs which has motivates me do even better. The next will be Africa championship and I will do my best to be Africa champion.”
Following closely in the footsteps of Polish freestyler Łukasz Chwieduk, his favorite tricks includes relying on his strong head and neck muscles.
“Techniques involving his upper body, more specifically, my signature move with my lips are the most I enjoy performing. The ‘palle’ is up there as well because I enjoy combinations with my weak foot skills where I am currently focusing on.”
A modus operandi for Emad in many a competitions, below is the link to the first time he ever recorded his signature move (at 00:34s) on video.
Through all of this and his growing experience in the freestyle scene, Emad had realized the need to give back to Sudan, early on in the game.
“I wanted to raise the profile of the art of this type of self-expression through football in Sudan. To take the youth off through the obscurity that prevails across the nation and provide a platform for them to express themselves. I was fortunate enough to organize two freestyle events – first one was in January 2013 and the second in March 2014. I am working on the third one.”
Emad strongly believes there is a strong future for the art in the Middle East as more individuals start appreciating it.
“The Freestyle community in the region is set to grow because I see people who watched a certain clip or a live event, end up enjoying it. With the availability of technology, it’s easier for people to watch or upload videos and new tricks daily without the repetition seen in mass sports.”
We wish Emad the best of all lucks as he works towards the title of the first African to win a Freestyle Championship.