Abdul Hamid Saighani was a doctor and had flourishing practice in Kabul. But the internal strife in Afghanistan forced him to flee to Germany in search of a better life for his family. His youngest son Masih Saighani was a toddler when his father came to Frankfurt thirty years ago.
Saighani has never returned to Afghanistan since, however, his son Masih, who was part of the national football team, had a harrowing time in Kabul in 2015.
"I was in Kabul for two days for the preparation of the SAFF championship. In those two days, I heard about half a dozen bomb blasts. It was scary after having lived in a country where a blast in the neighbouring country would make us feel unsafe, here I was in a place where bomb explosion was taking place hardly a few kilometres away. I somehow wanted to return home. And thankfully the practice session in Kabul was called off,’’ says Masih.
Afghanistan finished second in the SAFF championship losing to India in the final. However, it was personally a good tournament for Masih, who debuted and scored two goals in the tournament.
For someone who started playing pretty late - 15-years-old - Masih’s football journey brought him to Aizawl FC; it was for the first time he was playing outside Germany. "My agent got in touch with me and asked me if I was interested in joining Aizawl. I found the offer from a champion club too good to resist.
"I held a discussion with my club TC Friedberg which agreed to release me. I joined the Aizawl club midway through the Mizoram Premier League in June last year. I have played in all matches in the I-league expect the last match against Lajong which I missed as I was sick,’’ said Masih.
"For me, it was a great opportunity to play for Aizawl which was the champion in the I-league. And having played all my football for German clubs, I wanted a fresh challenge and I am happy with the decision I made," said Masih.
The tall Masih, who plays as a defensive midfielder, was somewhat surprised with the style of football followed in India. "In Germany, we play a far more organised game. The players know their positions and their specific roles. In my first match for Aizawl, I found it pretty awkward when I saw players leaving their positions and roaming freely which caused a lot of confusion. But make no mistake I found a lot of players with individual talent here in India,’’ said the 31-year-old.
Masih is looking forward to ending the season on a high note knowing pretty well that his team is in danger zone. "We made errors which we could have avoided in the earlier matches, It is very simple we need to win the next two matches to remain in the league," said Masih.
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