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A leg up for football

Touch of nostalgia Rahim League

Touch of nostalgia Rahim League  

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Telangana Football Association is making efforts to revive the Rahim League football championship

There is a touch of nostalgia every time the Rahim League football championship for A-Division teams in Hyderabad is mentioned. This is because the event was held regularly till the early 90s providing the much-needed platform for local young talent to showcase their skills.

However, post-90s, this once prestigious Rahim League had almost become a formality and unfortunately the standard of the game too diminished due to different reasons. A far cry from the days when even national selectors closely followed the performances in this League which has a rich history of producing some outstanding players for the country .

One remembers vividly the days when the legendary stars like Noor Mohammed, used to come to Goshamahal and Gymkhana Ground to watch the league matches on a bicycle. The mercurial Yusuf Khan, Olympian Zulfiquaruddin from Padmarao Nagar and all those passionate players from the Trimulgherry belt including Peter Thangaraj, Dhanraj, G.M. Pentaiah, John Victor and former India captain Victor Amalraj made their presence felt at the venues when they were in the City and even had the zeal to share a few thoughts on the game.

However, thanks to the warring groups politicking in the State football association for close to two decades, Rahim League has almost become a forgotten event and in this backdrop the efforts of Telangana Football Association, under the stewardship of president Mohd Rafat Ali and the Secretary G.P. Palguna, to revive it were clearly laudable. The officials still confront some teething problems in terms of getting grounds as some of them are controlled by their rivals.

But again, the moot question remains: where are the Clubs and where are the grounds? The dwindling playfields in general across the City has been a major concern for team events despite all the big talk of authorities of ensuring a sports culture across the State.

“We are keen to set the ball rolling and ensure that this League, being held in memory of one of India’s finest coaches, S.A. Rahim, will regain at least some of its past glory,” says Palguna, himself a former national player.

Clearly, the TFA Secretary is looking for support from all those genuinely interested in the sport. “This is not the time to take stands for or against. If there are any ideas to promote the game and let passionate young talent dream big in the City they are most welcome,” says Palguna.

For his part, Amalraj, who has the distinction of leading all the three famous Kolkata Clubs at one stage – Mohammadan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, feels there is no alternative to hosting as many tournaments as possible, to revice the sport. “It will not be a bad idea to have more age group inter-school tournaments; that is the age to popularise the sport and ensure a pool of young talent,” he suggests.

Well, something is better than nothing, this edition now on is a welcome change for the football fraternity.

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Printable version | May 24, 2018 7:04:28 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/a-leg-up-for-football/article8332023.ece