A teen from Kerala won an online talent competition that drew hundreds of entries from around the world. The youngster was chosen as one of the show’s seven freestyle footballers, called the 2021 Red Bull Neymar Jr’s Five. By accomplishing the accomplishment, Shahzad Mohammed Rafi, a young man from Pazhayangadi in Kannur, has brought honor to his home state. The 17-year-old will compete in a global five-a-side tournament in Qatar with Brazilian sensation Neymar Jr.
The PSG footballer was one of seven panelists who looked at 60-second films of football talent posted on Instagram by entrants who were intrigued. They were meant to use the hashtag #OutPlayThemAll to post a video demonstrating their abilities. Shahzad is one of two Indians who have qualified for the upcoming event. The Red Bull Neymar Jr’s Five is one of the world’s most prestigious amateur football tournaments.
The applicants have to pass a series of screenings at various levels based on their performance. Shahzad competed in the previous event but was unable to qualify at the national level. He is the son of Muhammad Rafi and Sherifa Rafi, and a class 12 student at Wadihuda Higher Secondary School. Since he was in class six, Shahzad has been interested in football. His family is based in Kuwait, hence he is listed as a Kuwaiti entry. According to news18.
Abhinash Shanmugamfrom Bengaluru also secured a place in the final. Jaimy Schallenbergh (Belgium), Simon Gustavo (Brazil), Leon Gillies Mannes (Norway), Giorgio Montalti (Italy), and Stanley Godian (Nigeria) are the other freestylers selected by Neymar Jr.
Onmanorama reported that Shahzad is excited to meet and play alongside Neymar Jr. Neymar Jr is a great influence to Shahzad, who is also a fan of Manchester United player Cristiano Ronaldo. A coincidental meeting with French freestyler Sean Garnier a few years ago proved to be a watershed moment for the youngster. Neymar Jr’s event is expected to take place in December or early next year.