Athlete, runner, Nike marathon pacer, and now a member of the Pro League – Premier Futsal,  Mohammed Umar has come a long way indeed. His first professional Futsal experience was in 2014 in Melaka, Malaysia where he was part of the CAFS (Confederation of Asian Futsal) – Asia Futsal Cup U-23. He has been continuously training in the sport and gave it his best shot at the pro league – Premier Futsal selections in 2016. But despite his efforts, he didn’t make the cut.

That didn’t stop him or deter his spirit as he continued to train harder and tried again this year. After undergoing a rigorous selection process which took place in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai, Umar was finally chosen as one of the key players to represent at the Pro – League. He says ” Only the best make it to the top”. And indeed that’s true, because Umar is representing one of the ace teams – Sunny Leone’s Kerala Cobras. In an exclusive interview with Mobiefit, Mohammed Umar talks about his journey as a Nike marathon pacer and now a Premier Futsal player.

  • You are playing with some of the biggies in the football/soccer world such as Ronaldinho, Michel Selgado, Paul Scholes, among others. How does it make you feel?

Undoubtedly this is one of the greatest moments of my life. Playing alongside, as well as against legends like Ronaldinho, Paul Scholes, and with Michel Selgado on my Team it is a dream come true. He’s a warrior, there’s a lot to learn from him and all the others as well. It makes me feel good that I have made it here but I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

  • What was the selection process like at the Launchpad?

The selection process was one where they give you ample amount of game time and then the players that are shortlisted undergo a super intense fitness test. Each player is then ranked and rated and only the best make it to the teams.

  • As a Nike Marathon pacer and now a Premier Futsal player, how do you manage the two?

As of now, I have to travel a lot with my team and give the game my best shot. Fortunately Nike understands how important it is to athletes to be living their dreams so I have some privileges. I can get back to pacing the runners once I’m done with my tournament.

  • Does your training as runner help you while playing Futsal?

Yes, definitely. My training as a runner helps me build up endurance which is beneficial in a sport like Futsal. But I do have to train separately for Futsal, it’s very important that I keep doing that.

  • Do you use any equipment for your training?

I use agility ladders and saucer cones for ball control and quick feet. I also practice with hurdles, slalom Poles and big cones for high intensity training

  • How do you manage your time between matches and training?

The time between matches and training is very well scheduled by the management. That’s the last thing a player here would be worried about.

  • Has there been a remarkable transition in your diet when you are competing in matches?

I don’t follow a very specific diet but yes I have always been careful about what I eat and now that I’m in the Major League, diet is priority.
After all, you are what you eat.

  • How has your experience been so far? Do you see yourself just sticking to just Futsal now?

The experience is breathtaking! All these years of training and hardwork make sense now. I have been with the game since the very beginning and I feel like this is just the start. There is much more to come. People think this is success, but the way I look at it is that this is one of the major steps toward success as my definition of success is a bit different. Like I said earlier, didn’t come this far to only come this far.

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