You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
You don’t need big grounds to play this football but some thumping music and very quick feet. Let just ball not touch the ground and do whatever you want, that’s it! Meet Michael Keishing – two time winner Red Bull Street Style (India) and let’s check out what’s the deal.
Q: What is Freestyle Football?
A: Freestyle Football is a new sport which not many people have knowledge of, Freestyle is all about ball control, consistency, variety and style. There are five types of Freestyle Football:
Q: What’s your favorite thing about free styling?
A: My favorite thing about Freestyle Football is that I know for myself, wherever I go I will always feel good that I am unique in something amongst millions and millions of people. So basically it’s the good feeling.
Q: When did you start and what made you want to become a Freestyle footballer?
A: I started free-styling watching the mastermind of football Ronaldinho. When I saw his commercials, I thought to myself, I totally got to learn how to do that. Then I started freestyle and I enjoyed it, I wanted to exceed and learn more. So I logged on to YouTube and typed football freestyle and this guy Palle shows up. I was amazed at what he could do with the football and did not believe it. But sooner or later I was committed to freestyle and yes that’s when I got into it.
Q: What kind of freestyle you are into?
A: I am an all-rounder freestyler but at the moment I prefer air moves because it’s complicated and the feeling of getting something which you could not imagine is awesome.
Q: What is your favorite trick and according to you which one is the hardest?
A: For me its AHMATW (Alternate Homme Mitchi around the World) it is when you use both your feet at one time to do a single trick.
Q: What is the most challenging/difficult thing about Freestyle Football?
A: The good thing about Freestyle football is that everyone supports each other and lives like a family with something in common. For me I think the biggest challenge is to overcome the critics and the weather.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: I’ll be honest I don’t practice much these days but when I was around 17-18, I used to practice 11+ hours a day. I know this sounds unreal but who knows the energy of a teenager.
Q: Is there a Freestyle footballer you idolize?
A: For me it’s Palle who got me into this. But it’s my freestyle friend Ikron Luikham to keep me running. Without an adversary I wouldn’t have reached my goal and it’s always good to have that competition to keep you motivated.
Q: What are the things needed to be a Freestyle footballer?
A: As in all sports or work, it’s all about giving time and commitment.
Q: You’re a Freestyle footballer, are you also a football fan? Which is your favorite team/club?
A: I’m very sure all freestyle footballers have a heart for football. My favorite is in two, its Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Q: What is the future of Freestyle Football in India?
A: I don’t see much hope for Freestyle Football in India as we are so much into cricket. At least I won’t be alive to see it (laughs).
Q: Tell us about yourself?
A: I am presently 21 years old, brought up in New Delhi, studying in Nowrosjee Wadia College (Pune).
My father was a very caring and family person and always supported me (he passed away last year in March). My mother on the other hand listens to everything I say like all mothers do and I have two elder sisters who are very talented in fashion and cooking.
Q: Tell us about your achievement as a Freestyle footballer till now.
A: In 2008 and 2010, I won the Red Bull Street Style competition, I did an advertisement for Milky Bar back in 2010 and did a show for Bayern Munich.
Q: Share us your experience of representing India in an international competition?
A: First two years I couldn’t participate as I didn’t have a passport and then Courier Company didn’t send our passport to Mumbai nor reverted back on that information. In 2012, I was unable to win but suddenly Red Bull Head of Mumbai announced that I would be going to Italy since I was unable to make it in the last two years. I made a lot of friends and free-styled with a lot of international freestylers.
Q: What would you like to do with your free styling?
A: I would love to take it as a profession, travel the world to big Freestyle events like in UEFA, FIFA and all the big and exciting ones.
(Published in Mandate July ’13, Page No. 30)