Zaïd Bafdili: one of the most talented midfielders in Belgium by Lions Talk
Name: Zaïd Bafdili
Place of birth: Brussels (Belgium)
Date of birth: 27-10-2007 (15 years old)
Club: KRC Genk
Zaïd Bafdili made a significant move from KV Mechelen to the esteemed youth system of KRC Genk in 2022, aligning himself with one of Belgium’s premier academies. Notably, he integrated into the renowned U16 category, a dominant force that secured local league victory with an astonishing record of just one defeat throughout the entire season.
KRC Genk’s U16 team boasts exceptional prominence not only within their league but also in the composition of the Belgian national U16 squad. A remarkable 50% of the national team’s players (10 out of 20) hail from the outstanding ranks of Genk’s youth setup. Among these gifted individuals are notable talents like Ilyas Baouzzaoui, Ayman Rabhi, and Saidou Touré. Yet, capturing the spotlight are the standout performers: Konstantinos Karetsas and Zaid Bafdili. Both have established themselves as not only the finest U16 players in Belgium but also among Europe’s elite talents.
Early Life and Football Beginnings:
Born and raised in Brussels, Zaïd is a member of a football-centric family. His brother Dalil plies his trade for USG, while a cousin represents KV Mechelen. His football journey commenced at the age of 5, as he embarked on a promising stint within Anderlecht’s prestigious youth system. After nurturing his skills there until U13, he opted for a transition to KV Mechelen, driven by the pursuit of increased playing time. This strategic step backward paved the way for substantial forward progress. Despite setbacks including injury and the impact of Covid-19, Zaïd’s potential shone through. His second season was especially noteworthy, leading to his Belgium call-up. The summer of that same year saw KRC Genk securing his services, granting him his inaugural professional contract at the tender age of 15.
Playing Style and Attributes:
“I’m someone who hates backward passes, I love to help defensively but when I get the ball I always play forward”.
Zaïd’s versatility is a hallmark of his gameplay, adapting seamlessly to various positions. His technical prowess is impressive, and his diminutive physique belies his capability to cover substantial ground due to his remarkable speed and astute positioning. Notably, he thrives under pressure, eluding defensive constraints with impeccable first touches, keen vision, and adroit body feints.
He excels in all forms of tackles, willing to embrace even the riskiest challenges when the situation demands.
Physical duels hold no intimidation for him, regardless of the strength of his adversaries.
His preference for dynamic, forward-moving play results in a penchant for pushing the ball upfield.
His proficiency in mid and long-range shots, coupled with his courage to attempt them, sets him apart.
His acumen for progressive passes and line-breaking passes showcases his football intelligence.
Penalty taking is another forte, marked by his composed and responsible approach.
His off-ball movements and positioning exhibit a high level of competence.
Serving as captain for both Genk and Belgium is a testament to his charismatic leadership skills.
Defensively, he brings aggression and diligence to the fore.
His comfort in one-touch play, especially in confined spaces, underscores his versatility.
Proficiency in dribbling and creating openings through body feints is a defining aspect of his play.
In summary, Zaïd Bafdili’s trajectory from KV Mechelen to KRC Genk’s esteemed youth ranks has underscored his standing as a rising star in Belgian football. His multifaceted abilities, both on and off the ball, combined with his leadership qualities, set the stage for an illustrious future in the beautiful game.
Zaïd’s highlights at the KDB Cup:
Zaïd’s highlights at the tournament in Portugal:
Long passing: 8/10
Short passing: 8/10
Through balls: 8/10
Leadership skills: 9/10
Off ball: 8/10
In ball: 9/10
Ground duels: 8/10
Aerial duels: 6/10
A great talent and an absolute leader of this new extremely interesting generation in Belgium. One of the most promising U-17 midfielders in Europe with a very high potential.