It was a trip down memory lane, literally, for the golden oldies of Indian football. For most of them who sacrificed the prime of their life because of the sheer passion for the sport, met in Pune, thanks to the initiative of Rangle Hills Young Boys Football Club. Quite naturally, they shared quite a few nostalgic moments too.
And Hyderabad, quite expectedly, made its presence felt as in attendance were former D. M. K. Afzal, member of the gold-medal winning team in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games, former India captain Victor Amalraj, who even now remains the only one to have played for all the three famous clubs in Kolkata (Mohun Bagan, Mohammadan Sporting and East Bengal).
The gathering also had a few Olympians too like T. Balaraman ( 1956 & 1960 Melbourne and Rome Games), I. Arumainayagam, D. Ethiraj ( 1962 Asian Games gold medallists) and internationals like Mohammad Saleemuddin and K. Sampath (1970 Asian Games bronze medallist).
“By all means, it was a memorable evening. Well, many of the greats of yesteryears with whom I had interacted were apparently disgusted at the low Indian football had hit,” says Amalraj.
“However, still there is a sense of optimism that the sport will regain its past glory as they strongly believe there is still abundance of talent which only needs to be given proper training and desired exposure,” the FCI officer pointed out.
“We wish similar get-togethers are also held in Hyderabad which was once bastion of Indian football thanks to the great S. A. Rahim Saheb,” Amalraj concluded.