Big clubs should contribute to Indian football: Shabbir Ali

Written by: Sujata Sarkar
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Bengaluru, Sep 8: Shabbir Ali, after a shocking heart attack three years ago, does not go out of his residence generally in Hyderabad. But his memory seems extremely sharp as before.

He still remembers the fanatic supporters on the day he stepped on to the East Bengal ground for the first time in 1978.

File photo: AIFF official logo

He can still recall the day when chief national coach of senior Indian football team Rustam Akramov, giving a lot of praise, said to the national footballers after the end of training at the Kolkata’s Sports Authority of India (SAI) ground that the strikers must know about the art of heading in the goalmouth melee from Sabbir Ali!

The 60-year-old former Indian striker who has represented the country in more than 100 international matches was surprisingly ignored for Arjuna award.

However, the Union Sports Ministry seemed to have realised their mistake and awarded Shabbir Ali with lifetime Dhyan Chand award four years ago.

Shabbir when contacted over phone and asked on his views on the progress of Indian football seemed highly dejected.

He lamented saying, “The big clubs in Indian football like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan seem to be busy only in between their senior team’s battle and score sheet. But they are not contributing to the Indian football by trying to produce quality young footballers for the national team.”

Ali added saying, “The same situation is in Goa also. But even a couple of years ago we were habituated in watching a lot of young talented players from Goa who are getting into the national team. But the supply line seems to have halted also.”

The former international striker was also asked about his views whether the Indian Super League would be able to improve that standard of Indian football in near future.

Ali, in his reply doubted. He said, “ISL is offering world class facilities and infrastructure for the players’ training. But it is happening only for the three months. I doubt how within such a short time Indian players will be able to improve its standard.”

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