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Moidul Islam: The footballer who could not don the India jersey

Moidul Islam: The footballer who could not don the India jersey

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Published: 20 Jun 2019 7:21 AM GMT
Although Moidul Islam is a forgotten name in Indian football, his heroics cannot be overlooked. For over 15 years, Kolkata football witnessed the presence three pillars -- Subrata Bhattacharya, Manoranjan Bhattacharya and Moidul Islam. Among the three, Moidul can take pride of being exceptional for winning every premier championship, being held in Indian football in between the 70s and 80s. The 66-year-old former defender donned Mohammedan Sporting shirt for ten consecutive years (1979-1988) and out of his 15-year footballing career, he also had a successful coaching stint. He was the winning coach of Bengal in under-19, under-21 national championships. He even coached Food Corporation of India for six years. Moidul started his career in Kolkata with the second division Suburban Club. Speaking to
The Bridge
on Wednesday, Moidul recollects, “I hail from Ghatal in Midnapore district. I had to catch the train at 5.30 in the morning from Kharagpur. So I used to ride my bicycle and travel for around 23 kilometres to Kharagpur to catch the train.” Starting as a midfielder in his earlier days, Moidul, who was then a part of the Calcutta Port Trust team, had to play a friendly match in 1977 as a defender owing to the absence of one of the defenders in his side. After having watched Moidul's performance as a defender, his coach, former international Sunil Nandy suggested him to switch over from midfield to defence.
Moidul Islam with Subrata Bhattacharya The footballer laments of not being able to don the India shirt even at the peak of his career. Speaking to The Bridge on Wednesday, Mohidul says, “I was diagnosed with severe heart disease in 1981. I used to fall unconscious often, and the doctors in Kolkata alarmed me saying that my life was short. I was struck by severe depression and fear." He adds, "Amid such a situation, renowned music director R D Burman, with whom I had an amicable relationship, advised me to go to Vellore for a check-up. I went there, stayed for around a month. The doctors advised me to play football but not to undergo hard training schedules. Naturally, I could not join the national camp, where the training was always hard.”
Moidul recollects his days at the Khidderpore tent after practice, where he had the opportunity to take advice from senior footballers on developing techniques and some other aspects of the game. He says, “Famous defenders of that time like Syed Nayeemuddin, Sudhir Karmakar used to come to the Kidderpore tent sometimes. I strictly followed their advice, which developed me as a player. Those were some of the happiest days of my career.” The footballer nowadays does not go out much. Mohammedan Sporting gave him a special award for his 10-year stint with the club. The defender, commenting on present-day football in India, described,
“Today with the progress and commercialisation of the game, the footballers are earning a lot. Simultaneously, technological advancement has helped the footballers gain more scientific training. But I feel individual brilliance is lacking, which makes a footballer different from others."
He goes on adding, "I have seen Sudhir Karmakar, Ashok Lal Banerjee dribbling inside the box and clearing the ball with such a precision that it landed at the feet of team’s forwards, who could reinitiate counter attacks. I do not generally see this precision among the present day Indian footballers.”
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