Nayeemuddin came and left unnoticed. The same Ambedkar Stadium that once saw fans and officials flocking around him, was a strange place for a man who was so closely connected with the game until five years ago.
The cheers from the Nehru Cup match involving India did catch his attention but he left without even catching a glimpse of some of the players who once trained under him.
The sad look on his face, as he fumbles for words, makes a depressing sight. He was known to scout and hone young talent. Nothing would make him happier than see his wards grow into stars. He rarely took credit for shaping a player’s career.
Nayeemuddin is a man of achievements in the field of football. He won the Arjuna Award as a player and the Dronacharya for excellence in coaching. He was a member of the Indian team that won bronze at the 1970 Asian Games at Bangkok. A decorated football career indeed.
Today the man is jobless.
Nayeemuddin has all the credentials to fulfil the latest guidelines that have come from the Asian Football Confederation. In desperation and anguish, he had approached the Sports Ministry a few months ago to help him find some work. “I need to support my family,” was his plea.
The AFC had made it mandatory for the I-League teams to appoint only those coaches who hold an AFC ‘A’ Licence. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was informed more than a year ago but it hasn’t taken a decision yet.
In a dilemma
Obviously the AIFF is in a dilemma since some of the top coaches of the country —Subhash Bhowmick, Sukhwinder Singh, Bimal Ghosh, Subroto Bhattacharya — do not hold the AFC Licence.
India has approximately 1000 ‘C’ Licence, 130 ‘B’ Licence and 25 ‘A’ Licence coaches and only five who hold the Professional Licence.
It is ironical that Nayeemuddin, who was the first Indian to hold all the required licences, including the Professional Licence, has no assignment after losing the National coach’s post in 2005.
He has had a coaching stint with Bangladesh too. “I want to be involved with football,” says Nayeemuddin.