Experience plays a major factor in creating the winning formula in football and Ibrahim Haydar is ready to provide just that at Parramatta FC.
At just 27-years-old, Haydar has entered his eleventh season in the PS4 NPL NSW Mens competition, which has included time at Bankstown City Lions, Sydney Olympic and Sydney United 58 FC.
His career has seen him win a National Youth League title with Sydney FC followed by the PS4 NPL NSW men’s title with Sydney Olympic.
After joining Parramatta during the off-season as a senior player, Haydar is hoping to pass on some of his experience.
“Cossie (Frank Consentino) was my assistant coach at a young age at Sydney Olympic and since then he has always been a great guy to me,” Haydar told Football NSW.
“When he gave me the call to join Parramatta I was quite happy and I’m loving it so far.
“Every now and then a footballer needs a challenge and here I am one of only a few senior players at the club so the challenge put to me is to keep the boys focused and calm while we play our style of football.”
The tough as nails defender’s approach to football comes from his first years in the competition playing under the then coaches Peter Tsekenis and Peter Papoythis at Bankstown City Lions.
Affectionately known as Tseka and Flea, the duo gave Haydar his debut as a 17-year-old and he has never looked back.
“I remember my debut like it was yesterday,” he said.
“It was Olympic against Bankstown and a night game.
“The Friday night before the match our starting left back rolled his ankle and when the coaches brought up the next left back he also rolled his ankle.
“I was called up and I have to be honest I was pretty nervous but got comfortable as the match wore on. We ended up winning the match 2-1 thanks to a goal by Robbie Mileski in the final moments at Belmore.
“I can’t repay Tseka and Flea for everything they have done in my career, especially after believing in me coming back from a serious injury.”
That injury came off the back of playing for Sydney FC in the National Youth Competition.
Returning to Bankstown City, Haydar played three games for his club before succumbing to a back injury.
After a series of tests it was revealed he had a number of stress fractures, ruling him out for the best part of an entire season.
Since recovering, Haydar has been a mainstay in the competition but insists he will take each season as it comes.
“I don’t think people realize how demanding semi-professional football is,” he said.
“We play or train and then go to work the next day sore and the like, it is tough on the body.
“I will take every year as it comes – I do take care of my body so we will see how I go.”
For now Haydar is focused on helping the Parramatta FC exceed expectations in 2016 – with a keen eye on more silverware.
“The first word I said to the boys when I joined was potential,” he said.
“There is potential for about anything in this squad.
“To be honest it is a young squad but even the young guys are pretty level headed and have a lot of talent.
“We are a very grounded as a team though and we will take everything as it comes.”
-By Chris Georges