Champions League winner praises Eastbourne street footballer

A street footballer from Eastbourne has received plaudits from a Champions League winner after one of his videos went viral.

Daniel Whiffen from Hampden Park had more than 3.2 million views online of him performing a street football skill with a backpack, which caught the attention of Champions League winner Franck Ribery and ex-Liverpool player Jose Enrique, who both liked the video.

Daniel and his partner Zeena

Daniel and his partner Zeena

Daniel said, “It’s a cool thing. I was looking through the comments and Enrique commented on the Instagram video, which was picked up by 433, with about five shocked face emojis.

“He has probably seen some pretty impressive things in his time so to get recognition from someone like that is great. Franck Ribery as well. He is a Champions League winner. It was cool to see they liked my video.

“The video idea just popped into my head to try and it worked. The actual skill itself has never been done with a bag before, people usually do that skill with a ball, so that’s why it kind of got a lot of attention.

“I love football and I’m quite a creative person so I’m always thinking of doing something a bit different.”

Daniel said he practises for an hour a day in between his studies

Daniel said he practises for an hour a day in between his studies

The ex-professional footballer, formerly of Breiðablik in Iceland, said the skill he pulled off is called the ‘Akka’, which was created by street football legend Issy Hitman. But the 25-year-old has dubbed his backpack version, ‘The Backpakka’.

Daniel said, “I used to do this for fun but since I’ve been getting a bit more attention it’s made me think I could do this more seriously.”

The Open University maths degree student said he ‘tries to find an hour a day for a kickabout’ and usually practises in between studying and anywhere he can, which includes his living room and at his girlfriend’s house.

Daniel, who moved from Woolwich to Eastbourne five years ago, said he also tries to use his platform to encourage young people to use sport as a way to be productive and stay out of trouble.

He said, “I’m originally from Woolwich which isn’t a very good area. I’ve seen a lot of kids get into wrong crowds and I’ve seen it a little more now in Eastbourne – that London culture.

“I’m always saying ‘you’re not gaining anything from it, find something that you can apply your time to and be productive, if you put enough effort into it you can get rewarded.’”

Daniel hopes to build his online following and said he has ‘a couple of ideas’ for fans to look out for in the future.

To watch ‘The Backpakka’ and other skills, visit Daniel’s Instagram page @danwhiffenfs