Few might have forgotten Anwar Ali Jr., the young defender who turned out for the Indian national team at the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup. After all, the 20-year-old has been away from football for almost a year. Now, having signed for I-League 2nd Division outfit Mohammedan Sporting Club, Anwar is all set to make a comeback.
In 2019, Anwar was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition which made it unsafe for him to play football. At that time, he had just made a switch to Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City, having signed a three-year deal.
Mumbai and All India Football Federation (AIFF) worked in tandem to help Anwar Ali get back on the field. He was sent to France for treatment at the end of 2019. However, after some doctors told the club that it would be risk to field the youngster, Mumbai terminated the contract.
Some other doctors, though, have given Anwar the fit certificate, which according to a report by Sportskeeda, declared, “Anwar Ali seems totally physically fit. He is doing all routine strenuous activities. His echo shows apical atrophy which needs to be followed actively. He can continue his activities as he has no pressure gradient and he is asymptomatic.”
Anwar, who picked up the ropes at the Minerva Academy Football Club Academy teams, first came into the limelight for his performance at the U-17 World Cup. A year later, he also scored the winning goal, an inch-perfect freekick, against Argentina U20 at the Cotif Cup. The promise he displayed, many tagged him as a prospect who could, within a few years, become a constant in the senior national team.
After signing for Mohammedan, Anwar was quite upbeat. At his unveiling ceremony, the budding youngster said, “My dream comes true. I have played in the World Cup, the ISL but playing in Kolkata is something that I have always wanted to do. I am aware of the pressure of playing here, in front of the huge crowds. But I think it is under pressure that your best comes out.”
“I am completely fit now. I want to thank the club for putting their faith on me. My aim is to help the club qualify for the I-League,” he added.