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Estadio Sausalito - Vina del Mar

Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar, where New Zealand played Brazil. Photo by Martin Rose FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images.

Talented footballer Ahmad Mohammadi was selected to play in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile in 2015, and shares a little of his challenging experience at this once in a lifetime tournament. Proactive are proud to sponsor Ahmad at Olé Football Academy this year.

I remember waiting for my name to be called out, and then my New Zealand U17 football shirt was presented to me by my coach. I remember my father was by my side as the lights from the cameras flashed in front of us. We knew it was going to be a long journey both mentally and physically when I was selected to play for New Zealand the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile.

Brazil Vs New Zealand with game officials

It was so exciting to see this mesmerizing country, and it started with a first warm up game against the Mexico U17 team. They’ve won this U17 World Cup title twice so we knew who we were facing and it was not going to be an easy game for us Kiwi’s.

Straight from kick off we had all the belief in ourselves, but it wasn’t enough to beat a country that breathes football, and we lost 5-1. We learned a lot of lessons from that game. We moved on from our defeat by Mexico and onto our first pool group game, facing a team that won the European Under-17 Football Championship – France. Half their players were already professional and their goalkeeper’s father was the great football player Zinedine Zidane.

When we played France, they proved to us why they should win this world cup beating us 6-1. Before this game I was seriously injured in training – I injured the MCL in my right knee causing me to be out for 6 weeks – I would miss out on all four of our pool group games, against France, Syria, Paraguay and Brazil. I was so gutted at the time – it was really painful not playing in a world cup, such a once in a lifetime occasion. The team went on to draw 0:0 against Syria, win 2:1 against Paraguay and lose just 1:0 to Brazil. Nigeria went on to win the tournament 2:0 against Mali.

When coming back home, I knew the rehab work I needed to put in to recover from my injury, and I worked very hard to make my way back to the Premier team at Olé Football Academy. I look back on the experience as quite challenging, but I was still stoked to be a part of it.

Ahmad Mohammedi

Proactive are proud to sponsor 2 talented footballers currently training at the Olé Football Academy this year. This is a 3-part blog where we ask both boys to share a part of their lives, trainings and the day to day challenges they go through to stay at the peak of their game.

Geovane and Joe Bell

Brazil’s Geovane and NZ’s Joe Bell battle for the ball.

Brazil and New Zealand line up for the anthems before the game.



Read More: Callum McCowatt’s Injuries: The Mental Game blog

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