SA man breaks football record
EVERTON midfielder Theo Walcott used to be able to say he held a Guinness World Record for his first touch.
Not any longer. The star English player had his title stolen by a South African.
With the help of Heineken, local freestyle player Khris Njokwana this week broke the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude football dropped and controlled.
At Johannesburg Stadium, a crane dropped a ball 37.4m, and the Capetonian controlled it before making a minimum of five touches (as per the rules) before hitting the ground.
It took him three attempts, but Njokwana’s new record beat Walcott’s by 3.4mto write his name into the record books.
Njokwana said it felt “unreal” being able to beat a record held by a player he admired all his life.
“I’ve always seen him as one of my footballing icons, so to break a record held by Walcott is something else,” he said.
The well-known freestyler had doubts, especially after he failed on his first two attempts.
“The week leading up to the world record attempt I was confident and pumped up.
“On the day, I had my doubts, especially after the second attempt. It was dramatic and very emotional.”
It took weeks of intense preparation.
“Heineken South Africa provided me with a clear set of rules, as the expectations set out by the world record organisation are stringent.
“They were intricate and placed additional stress on me. It was also hard to fully prepare for it as I was based in Cape Town and it’s difficult to gain access to skyscrapers to train for the record.”
Altitude was also a factor. “Each time the ball dropped, it dropped with a different velocity. It came down like a ton of bricks on my thigh. I was icing my legs for days after.”
Former Everton player Steven Pienaar encouraged him throughout his attempt. “He is a football legend so it was an honour. It was nerve-racking, so a big thanks to him for encouraging me and not putting pressure on me.”
Pienaar was impressed. “A soccer ball is hard enough to control when dropped from 2m or 3m high, but 37.4m is a whole new level,” he said.