Syed Abdul Rahim: Who is the Indian football coach Ajay Devgn plays in his upcoming movie ‘Maidaan’. The movie is about Indian football’s ‘Golden age’
Ajay Devgn shared the first look from his new film ‘Maidan’ on Thursday morning. His upcoming movie is a biographical sports drama. It is inspired by legendary Indian football coach and manager Syed Abdul Rahim; under whom the nation flourished in the 50’s.
Yeh kahaani hai Indian football ke Golden phase ki aur uske sabse badey aur successful coach ki.#Maidaan@Priyamani6 @raogajraj @BoneyKapoor @iAmitRSharma @freshlimefilms @SaiwynQ @ActorRudranil @writish @saregamaglobal @ZeeStudios_ @ZeeStudiosInt @BayViewProjOffl pic.twitter.com/djVktm8bft
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) January 30, 2020
Despite leading India to phenomenal success during his time at the helm, Syed Abdul Rahim is largely a forgotten figure. An unsung hero if you will. The film directed by Amit Ravindrenath Sharma intends to shed light on his contribution to Indian football. However, there are still many, who are unaware of who he is.
Who is Syed Abdul Rahim?
Syed Abdul Rahim was born in Hyderabad in 1909. He would go on to become a footballer himself. However, it was through coaching that he grew in prominence. He took over the Hyderabad City Police in 1943 and dominated the domestic scene for a long time.
His achievement with Hyderabad City Police did not go unnoticed and he was appointed India’s Head Coach in 1950. Syed would immediately lead his side to a gold at the 1951 Asian games. The side continued to flourish under him until a heavy defeat at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.
The Indian team at the time preferred playing barefoot and the harsh cold caught them by surprise. Syed then ensured that the Indian time would never play another game without wearing boots. He continued his trophy winning spree with several international tournaments. However, it was India’s performance in the 1956 Olympics that solidified his status as a great.
The 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the Gold at Jakarta in 1962
India progressed all the way to the Semi-final of the 1956 Olympics; beating hosts Australia in the quarterfinal to everyone’s surprise. India would lose to Yugoslavia in the final four stage. However, he had already proved his mettle to the world.
6 years later, Syed was diagnosed with cancer. However, he chose to put the team ahead and guided them to a stellar win in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. This would however, be his last trophy with India. The legendary manager quit as the Head Coach just two months later owing to his deteriorating health.
Syed Abdul Rahim died from cancer on 11th June 1963. When Indian national coach Alberto Fernando had gone to a workshop in Brazil in 1964, he said:
“What I learnt from Rahim in 1956 is being taught now in Brazil. Verily, he was a football prophet.”
Maidaan is slated to hit screens on November 27 this year.
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