Football Veterans Amalraj and Habeeb spent time to mentor young talent in the city
Two of the finest footballers ever from Hyderabad - Arjuna Awardee Mohd Habeeb and former India captain Victor Amalraj - were together at the Sports Coaching Foundation (Masab Tank) in the City with the young trainees, mostly from the now-famous Hyderabad Globe FC which has been consistently winning many All India invitation tournaments of late.
“It is impossible to think of life without football, so it does hurt to see the state of affairs in Andhra Pradesh football, given its wonderful history,” moans Habeeb, in one of his rare public appearances.
Not many may be aware that Habeeb had the distinction of scoring a goal against the famous Cosmos Club which had in its ranks the legendary Pele. That was in front of capacity crowd in Kolkata in the mid-70s. That exhibition match ended in a two-all draw with Shyam Thapa being the other scorer, Amalraj says, introducing the great Habeeb to current footballers. “Yes, it was a great phase in my career, definitely unforgettable. Those days footballers were looked up in awe,” recalls a smiling Habeeb. Not surprising as Pele himself had made special mention of Habeeb and Shyam Thapa for their extraordinary skills on the field.
Interestingly, both Amalraj and Habeeb swapped places in the three famous Clubs - East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and Mohun Bagan and even captaincy with each one playing under the other. So when these two turned up to teach the finer aspects of the game to young trainees, it was a memorable outing for both the young talent and seasoned SAI coach Venugopal. “It is an honour to have these two great footballers this evening and lift the morale of these young footballers,” insists K. Sai Baba, general secretary Hyderabad Globe FC captain Mohd Saleh.