Local footballer breaks Theo Walcott's record

Khris Njokwana
Image: Instagram

Football fans the world over will concede that the ‘beautiful game’ is an art – and South African freestyle footballer Khris Njokwana just created a masterpiece. With the support and encouragement of Heineken, and in the presence of a small gaggle of onlookers, Njokwana has broken the Guinness World Record for the “Highest Altitude Football Dropped and Controlled.” 

Langa-born Njokwana, who has been determined to master freestyle football since he was a child, has successfully managed to outdo the last record-breaker in this niche category: he has trumped the performance of Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. In a dramatic moment at The Johannesburg Stadium, a soccer ball was repeatedly dropped at a height of 37.4 meters – from a crane – and, on his third attempt, a nervous but resolute Njokwana was able to trap and control the ball with his legs, juggling it with the requisite five touches before letting the ball hit the ground. 

“A soccer ball is hard enough to control when dropped from 2 or 3 metres high, but 37.4 metres is a whole new level” said former Everton and Bafana Bafana star Steven Pienaar who was there to support Khris.

For Njokwana, this achievement signifies the realisation of a life-long dream; and, for South African sports fans, it’s further proof that the scope of our national talents is practically boundless. “I have dreamt about a moment like this since I started playing football as a youngster, I can’t believe it. I am now a world record holder”, said Njokwana.

Freestyle football is a unique discipline, which entails a solo athlete performing tricks and feats of strength and agility with a soccer ball – it is one-part performance, one-part dexterity, and ninety-eight-parts practice and dedication. Even some of the most consummate footballers are reduced to fumbling klutzes when expected to perform flawless manoeuvres of this nature.

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