Majid was like a god on the pitch, says Brahmanand

Former India captain Brahmanand Sankwalkar recalls the times when Majid called the shots for East Bengal or Mohammedan Sporting.

Majid Beshkar and Jamshid Nassiri at the East Bengal club in Kolkata earlier this week.   -  Rajiv Bhatt

Three decades after his last appearance on a football pitch in India, Majid Beshkar’s presence sparked off hysteria in the Kolkata maidans earlier this week.

Former India captain Brahmanand Sankwalkar, one of Majid's rivals in his playing days, is happy to see the Iranian returning to his known turf.

Brahmanand, who is currently the chief mentor at the Sesa Football Academy, recalls the time when Majid called the shots for East Bengal or Mohammedan Sporting.

“Every goal I watched him score was flawless in execution. When not facing him, there was less pressure watching from the stands. He ran the show on the pitch. Goalkeepers did not relax when the ball was with him and inside the shooting range. It is normal for us to focus on the ball and players around it, with Majid facing us, we could not switch off for a moment.”

READ: Emotional homecoming for East Bengal legend Majid 'Badsha' Beshkar

Brahmanand, a long-time Salgaocar SC custodian, explains the reason behind Majid’s popularity. “Whenever Majid had the ball, we knew something is going to happen. Fans in the stands also felt that way. It is a big honour for any footballer. He was like a god on the pitch, feared by rivals and adored by fans just about anywhere he played. EB supporters were crazy. I found even Mohun Bagan fans went silent watching him in action, out of respect and realisation that he was of a level they had not seen.”

File picture of Brahmanand Sankwalkar.   -  Special Arrangement

 

The Iranian’s career went off track due to personal reasons, drifting far away from the glory earned in football into a dark world of stimulants to counter depression. “I met him many times, during his best seasons in Kolkata with East Bengal, also later at Mohammedan Sporting. I remember Shabbir Ali (famous India forward) took me to see him. Majid was almost a skeleton, the sight of a supreme athlete like him in this state was shocking. He did not know what was happening to him then. I am so happy Majid found a way to reach home for rehabilitation.”

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“I found him to be a complete footballer. He played like a schemer, perfect in finding the right teammate with the right pass. He was a goal-getter and at the same time committed to creating opportunities to score for others.  Most of the headed goals by Jamshed Nassiri (another Iranian striker) were off Maid’s passes," the former India captain said.

At the East Bengal club earlier this week, Majid was joined by his old friend Jamshid Nassiri. Years ago, Majid, Jamshid and Mahmood Khabazi enrolled themselves at the Aligarh Muslim University, and later played professional football.

Jamshid and Majid's success opened the doors for overseas pros in Indian club football.

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