Eminent players of the past are ready to help the sport regain its lost glory in Hyderabad

It was a meeting of hearts, literally. For, every one of them had contributed to the glorious days of Indian football when all of them played for different Bengal football clubs. Those were the days when pure passion for the sport drove these gentlemen from the twin cities to the greener pastures of Kolkata — the Mecca of Indian football.

Quite naturally at an informal get-together organised in Hyderabad, thanks to a football enthusiast Javed Ahmed, the conversations veered around their golden past and the hazy scenario of contemporary football.

The gathering included 1962 Asian Games gold medal winning team member D. M. K. Afzal, former India captain Victor Amalraj, former international players Mohd Akbar, Anwar Hussain, John Victor, Arjuna awardee Mohd Habib, Habeeb Khan, Lateefuddin Nazam and former captain of Mohammadan Sporting Club.

“It was a fantastic feeling. No better feeling than to spend time with friends who gave their heart and soul for the sport. Definitely, very nostalgic indeed,” says Victor Amalraj.

Soft-spoken Afzal believes these meetings not only take you back to those wonderful playing days but also help stay connected to the sport. They are all quite pleased that finally, football in Andhra Pradesh and especially in Hyderabad is getting the desired direction with a duly-elected AP Football Association with Mr Mohd Rafat Ali as president.

“Any player would love action out there on the field not in the court of law,” insists Mohd Akbar. “I sincerely hope that every effort will be made to revive football in Hyderabad which produced many outstanding footballers till the early 90s.”

That these gentlemen love to be involved actively in the promotion of the sport even now reflects their passion to see Hyderabad football regain its glory. “We are ready but the onus is on those who govern the sport,” was the near-unanimous message from their meeting.