Shabbir back steering dreams

Shabbir back steering dreams

Tasting success as a player and then as a manager is  quite a rarity in football, but one man who has accolades aplenty in both roles is the affable Shabbir Ali.

Massively successful during his playing career when he skippered the Indian national team and also turning out for a host of clubs, the likes of Mohammedan Sporting Club, East Bengal and Tata Sports Club, Shabbir was a crowd favourite everywhere he went.

Shabbir's most successful spell as a player came at Mohammedan and the prolific striker  divulged an instance to reaffirm his bond with the fans.

"There was a time when I was playing at Mohammedan.  At some point in the middle of the night, there were a bunch of supporters who heard that I had met with an accident. I was staying at the YMCA and they turned up there and insisted that they  were allowed to see me and make sure I was fine," said Shabbir.

Such was the fandom that Shabbir enjoyed as a player and after his retirement in 1985, India's only footballer to receive the Dhyan Chand award  decided to venture into coaching.  

After leading his beloved Mohammedan to trophies galore, Shabbir  moved to Salgoacar and is credited as the man who managed the first Goan side to lift the erstwhile National Football League, in addition to the  Rovers Cup, Durand Cup and Super Cup.

Shabbir, who has the distinction of scoring India's quickest international hat-trick against  Indonesia in the 1976 Merdeka Cup, was also responsible for ending West Bengal's 11-year Santosh Trophy drought when they won in 2010 and went on to defend it in 2011.

After suffering health issues and moving base back to Hyderabad, Shabbir has taken up  the challenge of shaping the Telangana state side as their head coach.

"I'm enjoying coming back into the picture after my  illness forced me out. The problem in Hyderabad is that there isn't enough competition. I'm definitely thinking that I have to do something with this team. Probably improve the standards in the coming years. I want to give back."

After their crushing defeat to Karnataka in the opener of the South Zone qualifiers for the Santosh Trophy, Telangana fought well against Services and signed-off on high with a 4-0 win against Puducherry in their final game. Having  a man like Shabbir at the helm is definitely a step in the right direction and it remains to  be seen what  the master tactician can do for Telangana football.    

 

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