The story of Bachar Houli

The story of Bachar Houli and 3 lessons we can learn

Bachar Houli is a former Aussie f Rules footballer who played 232 games over a 15-year career with Richmond and Essendon in the Australian Football League (AFL).  He was born on the 12th of May 1988. He is a three-time premiership player with Richmond and was named an All-Australian half-back during his 2019 premiership-winning season.

When he first started playing football, Bachar was shy about his identity. He would pray behind the club rooms because he was afraid someone would see him. Eventually, they fully accepted him and upheld his values.

Bachar’s parents were born in Lebanon and migrated to Australia in the 1970s. At first, his parents were not supportive of Bachar being sports or being a footy player. But his elder brother saw the passion in Bachar. He started playing footy at Spotswood football club. Eventually, Bachar’s father jumped on board and become supportive of his son. His father was a taxi driver. When Bachar was playing a game of footy, he was super pumped waiting for his dad’s yellow taxi to arrive and watch him play.

There are three main reasons Bachar Houli become a successful football player.

1. Positive mindset

Bachar admits that “It’s all about positivity. It’s all about looking forward”. Bachar got his lesson from his holy book, the Qur’an which says ‘After hardship comes ease. For Bachar, life goes on and things get better over time. He believes we should control what you can control, especially our state of mind when things get tough.

2. Humility

He learned a lot from elder players. Football taught him maturity. While playing for Essendon and Richmond, he learned a lot through experienced players such as James Hird, Matthew Lloyd and Dustin Fletcher. He fed off them. He learned from these great players. He learned from his losses.

3. Hard work

Bachar believes the best form of preparation you can do is the stuff you do off the field. That is how to keep a positive mindset and how to bounce back when things aren’t going your way.

But Bashar reflected that “Once you hit your big 30, things start to go downhill..physically and your motivation lacks at times”. So Bachar’s mindset helped him to enjoy the games even more and play more freely. He enjoyed the training and playing during his final playing years. He got injured and ended his career.

Bachar was a very successful footy player and says ‘once get a taste of success, it’s hard to go backwards. He believes when a club fully invests in someone on a deeper level, you win their hearts. He is a grateful human being. Enjoy the moment that you have because it can be taken very quickly.

Life after footy

Houli has become a community leader and a particular inspiration for young Australian Muslims participating in Australian rules football and community sport. In November 2020, Houli wrote an autobiography entitled ‘Bachar Houli: Faith, Football and Family.

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