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adidas Predator: Irfan thriving on stability and control

07:45 GMT+4 13/09/2019
Irfan Zakaria, Adidas (commercial use only)
As a centre back and defensive midfielder, Irfan Zakaria knows he needs to have the right tools to be the main shield to his team's defence.

In football, a strong and stable defensive line is always the backbone of to a successful team, the base in which a coach can look to build on his or her attacking philosophies to get the win in any match. Whether that is in the defence or in midfield, Irfan has shown he's capable of assuming the function that those specific positions calls for.

The 24-year-old Irfan is now a regular with the Malaysia national team having broken through the ranks at Kuala Lumpur during their promotion from the Premier League to the Super League. Irfan's adaptability meant that he excels whether he's called upon to be a centre back or a defensive midfielder and with the Predator, his strengths is accentuated even more.

A midfield is the engine room of any team and in his role, Irfan has to cover a lot of ground, be constantly on the move and plenty of interaction with the ball. Expected to be continually aware of his surrounding and to read the game in an instant, Irfan needs to assume control for his team.

"In order to cover a huge area on the pitch, I need to be in control of my own movements at all times and be able to move easily and quickly. The PREDATOR helps me in that aspect, with the Controlskin that keeps my feet glued to the ball, while offering unrivalled softness. With this, I’m able to move effortlessly without the worry of losing the ball to my opponent," says Irfan.

When called upon further back, Irfan has to take on a similar but varied approach. A centre back cannot afford to make mistakes because that will lead to the opposition striker getting through on goal that could ultimately lead to the team going behind in the game.

But in the modern game, a defender is no longer purely just a defender. If Irfan slots in as a centre back, he's also expected to take on more responsibilities which includes him being the first line of attack and the first one to make the transition from defence to attack.

That means it is imperative that Irfan makes the correct split second call whether to go short or long with his pass. It means that Irfan must have the assurance and confidence to deliver the pass out of defence to his midfielders or directly to his attackers.

"As a defender, my primary goal is in ensuring my opponent isn’t given the chance to score, thus I need to be moving and engaging at all times. This can take a serious toll on my feet if not handled in the right manner. The BOOST Control frame on the PREDATOR boots offers me an endless supply of energy and stability, keeping me grounded while enabling me to move swiftly around my opponent," Irfan explained.