Former Olympian footballer Zulfiqaruddin no more

Zulfiqar started his career with Hyderabad Sporting Club in 1954 before joining the Police Department. He honed his skills under the tutelage of late S.A. Rahim, rated as the finest coach of his time by critics.

Mohammad Zulfiqaruddin, a member of the Indian football team which reached the semifinals of 1956 Melbourne Olympics, breathed his last on Sunday morning after prolonged illness. (FILE IMAGE)   -  Sandeep Saxena

Former Olympian and one of the finest Indian footballers ever, M.D. Zulfiqaruddin, passed away on Sunday morning after prolonged illness. He was 83.

Zulfiqar started his career with Hyderabad Sporting Club in 1954 before joining the Police Department. He honed his skills under the tutelage of late S.A. Rahim, rated as the finest coach of his time by critics.

He was also captain of the then united Andhra Pradesh team for 12 years starting 1955. Consistent performances in domestic tournaments saw him getting picked for the Indian team to feature in the Merdeka tournament in Malaysia and then in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, which incidentally saw six Hyderabadis in the Indian team.

Aged 19, Zulfiqar was the baby of that Olympic squad and was famed for his trapping, turning and shooting capabilities from acute angles, according to former India captain Victor Amalraj.

Zulfiqar, who represented India in the 1958 Asiad, was known for his dazzling skills in scoring under pressure. He led the State team from the front when it clinched some major tournaments like the Santosh Trophy, Durand and the Rovers Cups between 1957-63.

Former Asian Games gold medallist D.M.K. Afzal, former Olympian S.A. Hakeem, son of late S.A. Rahim, Telangana Football Association president Dr. Rafat Habib, Secretary G. Palguna, Amalraj, the famous brothers - Mohd Akbar, Mohd Habib, former AP Football Association secretary Prof K. Ranga Rao and former Sports Authority coach and national player Aleem Khan were among those who expressed condolences to the bereaved family members.

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