Syed Abdul Rahim – The Architect of Modern Indian Football.

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Syed Abdul Rahim, the big name in the world of football, is called the Architect of Modern Indian Football. He was the coach of the Indian football team from the years 1950 to 1963. Superstar Ajay Devgan is making a film on the life of Sayed Abdul Rahim, the coach who led the national football team to great heights despite the harsh conditions. Its name is ‘Maidan‘. The family members of Rahim Saheb, who lives in Hyderabad, and their fans have expressed happiness over the making of this film.

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Who is Syed Abdul Rahim ?

  • Syed Abdul Rahim was born on 17 August 1909 in Hyderabad, India. He was a professional teacher.
  • He is said to have a great ability to motivate people.
  • His father Abdul Qadir Geelani was revered as Hasani and Hussaini Sayyid, i.e. his maiden and paternal lineage included Hasan and Hussain ibn Ali, Ali’s sons, Muhammad’s cousins, and Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter.
  • He did his early education from a government school in Hyderabad.
  • He then moved to Osmania University, India for higher education, where he completed his undergraduate studies.

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Syed Abdul Rahim’s football career

  • Rahim has been fond of football since childhood and displayed amazing football skills in football at a very young age.
  • He was a good player not only in school education but also in athletics and participated in every sports event of his school.
  • In the mid-1920s he came to Hyderabad for a football sporting event, where apart from Rahim, other football players attracted the attention of all with their excellent performances. After that, he went on to play football for the Osmania University football team.
  • Although he started his career as a school teacher, he loved “football” immensely. He never stopped playing football.
  • Abdul Rahim was counted among the greatest players of Hyderabad from the 1920s to the 1940s, when he played for the ‘Waist Club’, considered to be one of the best teams in the local league of Hyderabad.
  • In the year 1939, when the Hyderabad Football Association came into existence. Three years later, in the year 1942, SM Hadi was appointed as the President of Hyderabad Football Association and Rahim as Secretary.
  • Abdul Rahim was a talented coach who nurtured the talent of the time and the great ability of brilliant players. He was known for changing his attitude towards the game, creating a series of footballers with a strict disciplinary nature, strategy, persuasive speech and foresight.
  • Abdul Rahim was instrumental in improving the football infrastructure in Hyderabad. Earlier, Indian players used to play football in a typical British style dribbling a football ball. But when Rahim became the coach of the ‘Hyderabad City Police’ (HCP) or ‘City Afghan’ in the year 1943, he introduced a concept of the football ball even more technically, being ambidextrous to play with both feet. Efficiency was focused on. In order to sharpen the players’ reflexes, speed, stamina, skills and techniques, he kept organizing football tournaments adapted for the youth.
  • Abdul Rahim in Hyderabad City Police Team After a few months, he transformed the HCP team into a local team.
  • The team which made headlines against the Royal Air Force in 1943 after their historic victory in the final of the Ash Gold Cup in Bengaluru, including England cricket and football international Dennis Compton.
  • He defeated Mohun Bagan in the final of the Durand Cup of 1950 to establish himself as the best team of the time and managed to challenge the Bengal football teams.
  • Under the excellent coaching of Abdul Rahim, the HCP team won 5 consecutive Rovers Cups which still remain a record. His team made it to the finals of 5 Durand Cups, winning 3 of them.
  • In 1950, he became the coach of the Indian national football team along with managing the Hyderabad City Police team.
  • His first major tournament as an Indian coach took place at home, when India hosted the 1951 Asian Games. A lot was expected from his team, let him conquer the Indian team and he won the final against India by 1-0.
  • In 1952, the Indian football team arrived in Finland to participate in the Olympic Games. Where the Indian team went through a period of training as India suffered a 10–1 defeat to Yugoslavia. India’s poor performance at that time was mainly because many Indian players were playing without shoes.
  • When India returned from the Olympics, the AIFF announced that players would have to wear shoes while playing for India.
  • It is said that after a humiliating performance at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, a high-ranking AIFF official interfered in Rahim’s work, preventing him from choosing the team of his choice. Syed Abdul Rahim’s Indian team in Helsinki Olympics
    After an embarrassing defeat at the Olympics, he drew on Hungary’s aggressive performance 4-2-4 and turned the state team into a ‘W-formation’.
  • Initially, the formation was criticized, then in 1952, India defeated its arch-rival Pakistan in the Quadrangular tournament in Daka. When this formation of them was proved correct.
  • In home matches, his team HPC managed to win all 12 national tournaments held in the years 1950, 1957 and 1959.
  • Till 1958, Hyderabad and Andhra were treated as separate teams by the AIFF.
  • In the year 1959, the two teams were merged into Andhra Pradesh Football Association and in which Rahim played a key role.

Rahim battling cancer gave gold

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At the time when the Jakarta Asian Games were being played in 1962, the coach of the Indian team Syed Abdul Rahim was battling cancer. The final match of the Indian team was to be from South Korea’s team. This team was very strong and two players of the Indian team were injured and the goalkeeper was ill. However, it was the coach’s resentment that these three players went on to play the final and India won the gold medal by winning the match 2–1. Syed Abdul Rahim died of cancer while battling cancer in the year 1963 after the victory of the Indian team.


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