By Tate Spiteri
Bachar Houli is a much-lauded and celebrated member of the Richmond line-up for his ultra-consistent on-field performances.
The 32-year-old was an All-Australian in 2019 and is a two-time premiership player. He will forever be in the hearts of Tiger fans for his brilliant Grand Final performances, finishing runner-up in Norm Smith Medal voting on two occasions.
But it is off the footy field where Houli continues to make a difference, and the proud Muslim recently took the time to talk about his faith, family, and recent pilgrimage to Mecca on Jack Riewoldt’s SEN Radio Show, Tiger Time.
Riewoldt, who described his teammate of 10 years as a key component in driving the Tigers’ positive culture, asked Houli to best describe what Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, meant to him.
“It is one of the five pillars and fundamentals of Islam,” he said.
“For me, it is a special time; it is a time where everyone is doing the exact same thing and is there for the same purpose. It is a chance to take a step back and revisit what your true purpose in life is.
“You look around and everyone is in the same clothing, you would not know the difference between one person to the other. You might be standing right beside someone in prayer who is worth 40 billion dollars, or you might have someone standing right next to you who has got no money at all.
“But everyone has got a smile on their face, it is a sign of everyone being humble and there for the same purpose.”
2020 has been an eventful year for Houli, with the birth of his third child and first son Mohamed, but also the illness of his mother Yamama.
Yamama tested positive for COVID-19 and was in intensive care in a Melbourne hospital, but is now recovering at home.
“She is a strong lady,” Houli said.
“She first went to the hospital through a fall where she had hurt her ribs and got the (COVID-19) test because a few family members had tested positive.
“She fell downhill really quick from that and was the only family member that suffered the bad end of COVID, everyone else was pretty good and had very minimal to no symptoms at all.”
Houli added that a great team of doctors had helped Yamama to recover.
“The reality is she is used to being around people, big community, big family, so she truly missed that, but she is doing really well and is very happy at home now.”
Houli and his wife Rouba and three children have now joined Richmond in their Gold Coast hub, with the dashing defender preparing for another finals campaign.
The 32-year-old is roomed away from newborn Mohamed but said from all reports, the youngest Houli is sleeping well.
“Rouba is the most unselfish person in the world, she is always thinking of my preparation and about me,” Bachar said.
“She said why should we both miss out on quality sleep? And that we are up here for football and it is important I get the right rest.”
Catch Bachar Houli LIVE on Instagram with a new special guest every week – follow us @bhfoundationau for weekly updates.