LINUS LINDAHL / AIPS* in DUBAI: Sixten Mohlin stands out as the goalkeeper with a mohawk haircut and double saves. On Monday he seeks to stop the tournament surprise Japan in the second round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013.
His favourite club is not Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus or Bayern München. If Sixten Mohlin would choose one club outside Sweden for whom to play it would be the Feyenoord from Rotterdam, the city where he was born sortly after before his family moved to Sweden.
”I have grown up with Feyenoord so it is in my heart and head now. My father also supports them, maybe he has influenced me a little,” says Mohlin only hours after the Swedish team arrived in Sharjah from Al Ain for Monday’s first match in the knockout phase.
He seems to have both his feet on the ground, even if his career is going fast as lightning.
When Sixten Mohlin is not playing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup he is travelling three hours a day between his home in Åhus and Malmö where he attends school and plays for Malmö FF.
His football career started for real when his father pushed the send-button on the computer when Sixten was 12 years old: “My father sent an e-mail to Malmö and asked if I could get a trial. I got it and after my first training session they asked me if I wanted to go with them to a tournament in Germany.”
He is 17 years old but has already played for his club’s U-17, U-19 and now the senior team where he is the third choice and is awaiting his debut. He says: “I have barely realised it yet. I have already come pretty far in my career, even if there is an incredibly long way left.”
When Sweden arrived in Al Ain Mohlin thought he needed a haircut. Defender Linus Wahlqvist did not hesitate to act as the Malmö FF goalkeeper’s new barber and now Mohlin guards his net with a mohawk stripe of black hair on his head.
He says: “I had an afro when I arrived and I wanted it off because it was too warm. So I asked Linus if he could cut my hair and then we said that we should try mohikan. It is kind of good so I have to continue with it. But when I go home it could be too cold.”
Maybe his haircut has brought him luck in the to United Arab Emirates. In all the three group matches Mohlin has been Sweden’s wall, except for the ball he seemed to have under control but dropped into the goal against Nigeria.
”The save that gave me the best feeling was the double save directly after the mistake. It made my confidence grow,” he says.
On Monday no mistakes are allowed when Sweden face Japan in Sharjah. The losers losing go home. But Sixten Mohlin is not nervous, he never is and says: “It is hard to explain but I never get nervous. It is simple as that. We have played beyond everyone’s expectations, apart from ourselves, because we know what we can do.”
So do not be surprised if the Swedish 17-year-old pulls off more skilfull saves against Japan; and do not be surprised if, one day, he pulls on the goalkeeper’s jersey for Feyenoord.
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
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