Owning a football team is stressful but I am loving it: John Abraham

Owning a football team is stressful but I am loving it: John Abraham

By Arti Dani

Published: Sun 21 Jan 2018, 12:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:41 PM

BOLLYWOOD ACTOR JOHN Abraham was in Dubai on Friday in his capacity as Global Goals World Cup ambassador. The handsome Bollywood hunk was surrounded by girls, but this time it was because he was refereeing a women's football tournament in town. Sustainable City Dubai (where the game was held) was brimming with joy, fun, music, food, and of course soccer. The idea behind the match was to raise awareness on implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals by empowering women to become agents of change - one goal at a time! This tournament was aligned with the sustainability theme the Year of Zayed. One of the nicest guys in the Indian film industry, John was nice as referee too and was easy on girls...  and vice versa because none of the girls shouted or screamed back at the referee!
"It is important to promote the idea of equality in sports. Today, just by playing football, we are doing good to society," said John while talking to City Times describing his experience as a referee. We spoke to the actor after the match and he told us why he has aged 50 years in the last four years after becoming the owner of a football team, and how he leads a disciplined life.
Of course, he was born with his great looks but he works hard to maintain his fitness level. He doesn't smoke or drink. He goes to bed by 9.30pm and wakes up as early as 4.30am. It requires a lot of discipline, and John is a stickler when it comes to fitness. Excerpts from our conversation with the actor:

What brings you to Dubai?
It's the World Cup that brought me to Dubai. Houriya Al Tahri, who is the first female coach of the UAE women's national team, is here with me today. It is a rare distinction to have her here. Let me tell you, I know how precious a coach is because I own a football team. And I know the importance of a coach. The real hero of the Global Goals World Cup, however, is Vineetha (Mathew) who is also present here.

How was your experience of being a referee today?
I thought it was easy. It's really tough otherwise . Because normally we take it out (frustrations) on the referee, asking him, 'what the hell.' But I think the girls played really well and they have scored some amazing goals. You also saw some credible causes being fulfilled - someone wanted to save plastic bags while someone wanted to save electricity. Every goal is attached to a credible goal so that's what makes it really special. This is fantastic initiative and we have fantastic people associated with it. I would love to extend my support to this cause. A great cause and a great game!

You own a football team, and you are also a fitness fanatic. Did you ever think of taking up sports professionally when you were younger?
It is important to promote sports. During my time, we did not give that much importance to sports. I have played first division football, but in India, we give a lot of importance to academics and education. If I had decided not to study, I would have probably been playing for the (Indian) national team. But I decided to study and did my MBA. Following that, I became a model and an actor. And, the only way I am realising my dream now is by owning a football team. Trust me, I have aged 50 years in 4 years. There is so much stress in owning a football team but I love it.

Do you get time to play football back in India?
I play football once in a week. I am into fitness. I go to sleep at 9.30pm and wake up at 4.30am every day. I don't drink and I don't smoke. I have never ever done drugs. I am very proud to say this, especially to youngsters out there who think it is cool to drink and smoke, being disciplined is the only way to live a fit life.

We need supporters like John:
Houriya Al Tahri
Houriya Al Tahri is the first Arab woman to receive a professional coaching license and is currently the assistant coach  of the UAE women's national team. Talking about John, Houriya said, "Even if he is not playing as a professional, he is supporting other people who are playing the game by owning a team and supporting players. Sometimes, you don't get the opportunity to be part of the sport. We need supporters like him to grow. It is nice to have a man beside us and it makes us stronger. Men and women together always empower each other."
While describing the challenges faced by the UAE national women's team, Houriya said, "Challenges are always there, whether it is the Emirates or Europe. One problem is always replaced by another. Challenges only help you grow. The UAE Government supports the women's team a lot. We have financial support as well as facilities, and we can get wherever we want to with hard work and dedication.
"Follow John's fitness fad
John Abraham leads a very disciplined life that combines a strict workout regime, diet and lifestyle. In fact, he has inspired many actors in the industry and is a beacon of fitness for younger stars. He attributes his toned body to hard work and dedication. The actor offers fitness tips through his website (www.johnabraham.com ) to anyone looking for inspiration. If you don't have time to go to the gym and workout daily, at least eat right, he says on his page. Pay utmost attention to your diet and eat on time, and eat the right food, he mentions. Start the day with a good breakfast. Whenever hungry, munch on a nutritious snack, he advises. The actor doesn't believe in expensive diet foods. In fact, he keeps a watch on calories and the nutritive value in what he eats. It's important to sleep for eight hours at night. Sculpting the body should be 'slow and steady' he says. Never try to build up or slim down fast because it can interfere with metabolism. A regular gym regimen, proper diet and lifestyle can go a long way in attaining a great body, he says.

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