Isaak Hayik of Or Yehuda, Israel, has set a new world record as the oldest active player in a professional soccer match after tending the goal for Ironi Or Yehuda in an April 5 game against Maccabi Ramat Gan.
Hayik, who turns 74 this week, was officially recognized with a Guinness World Records certificate after the game presented by a Guinness representative from London.
Hayik had written to the organization inviting them to the game, thinking he would break a record as the world’s oldest goalie. To his surprise, the organization informed him that he broke the record for oldest overall footballer in a pro game, previously held by Robert Carmona of Uruguay, who played at age 53 in 2015.
“This is not only a source of pride for me but also to Israeli sports in general,” Hayik told reporters. He noted on his Facebook page that some his teammates that day were the grandsons of players with whom he’d kicked around a soccer ball 50 or 60 years ago.
Hayik was born in Iraq and emigrated to Israel with is parents when he was four years old, after the creation of the state prompted anti-Jewish actions in Middle Eastern and North African countries.
He founded Hayik Bamot, a business that handles all the logistics for events, shows, rallies and ceremonies.
Although Ironi Or Yehuda did not win the Friday afternoon match, the after-game ceremony for Hayik was jubilant. His son Moshe, 36, said that when he played soccer with his father as a child, “I used to get tired before he did. He is unbelievable.”
Hayik wrote on his Facebook page Friday afternoon: “Age is just a number. Always know that you can realize every dream, if you just believe in yourselves. Shabbat shalom from me, the oldest active footballer in the world.”