Globe, the pride of a city

Foreign players of the Hyderabad Globe Football Club.-V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Not since the days of the famed outfit of yesteryear, Hyderabad City Police, has any team from Hyderabad played so gallantly. Well, Globe Football Club has won five all-India invitational tournaments in the last couple of months. Over to V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Rekindling memories of a golden past! Well, Hyderabad Globe Football Club has put football from the City, which once had the distinction of fielding five players in the Indian team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, in the news for all the right reasons.

Not since the days of the famed outfit of yesteryear, Hyderabad City Police, has any team from Hyderabad played so gallantly. Well, Globe has won five all-India invitational tournaments in the last couple of months, the last two being the NMDC championship in Bacheli (Chattisgarh) and the Jayant Shaschak tournament in Miraj (Maharashtra).

Globe FC was founded in 1968 by the late Syed Saleemuddin Morshed. But, the Club and the sport itself took a turn for the good when his son Syed Sadi, involved in the poultry business, assumed charge of the Club in 2007 and swung into long-term planning despite all odds. The one big plus point was the Hyderabad Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi agreeing to be the President of the Club. “He is a huge source of inspiration, always helping the players in his own low-profile manner,” says Sadi.

Significantly, Hyderabad, which had the famous A-Division Rahim League championship producing so many outstanding footballers till the late 80s, doesn't even have a league now, leave alone big tournaments!

“It is an extremely grim scenario. And, it was a mammoth task for people like us to revive the sport for the first question any talented player will always ask is, ‘Where is the platform for us to perform?'” points out Sadi, who also has the onerous task of raising funds to meet the expenses involved to take the team to different events besides organising training schedules.

It is obvious that promoting football in Hyderabad, which was once a premier nursery in terms of producing many a stalwart, is not going to be easy. It may not be out of place to mention here that the only club which organises regular events, on its own, is the Shastri Soccer Club. Thanks to the hard-working S. Tony who encourages the few active teams, this Club hosts many inter-school and college tournaments in the Secunderabad Cantonment Area with support from M/s Sachdev Sports. Otherwise, the sport is virtually dormant in the other areas of the State capital.

So Globe has dared to tread on a path which is dotted with many hurdles, often because of the warring factions (two) in the AP Football Association. It is a tribute to the efficacy of its officials that Globe is the first professional club now from this part of the country.

“The fact that many of Globe's players are likely to get jobs in Banks and Railways very soon, by virtue of their recent performances, is a huge morale-booster for the other players,” says striker Alamdar Raza.

Interestingly, Globe is a remarkable blend of ‘domestic' and ‘foreign' talent. For, it has Sudanese Mohd. Saleh (captain) and Mustafa Ahmed, an Afghan, Sher Ahmed Khan, and two Nigerians, Tibo Tenga and Xavier Jackson. These foreign players, who are in the City pursuing studies in the affiliated colleges of Osmania University, are spotted during the regular football matches they play under lights at the Sports Coaching Foundation (Masab Tank), run by former Ranji cricketer K. Sai Baba.

“I am enjoying every bit of my stay for it lets me study and play my favourite sport,” says Sher Ahmed, coming from the war-ravaged Afghanistan. “I have no problems in this great City,” he insists.

“This is one sport which binds us all and we are enjoying playing together,” says Saleh, who led from the front quite often in these all-India tournaments (missing only the last one because of injury).

At a time when it has become a favourite pastime, even for many football officials from the State, to harp on the past rather than make genuine efforts to end the stalemate in the AFA, Globe has redefined what a group of soccer-crazy fans can achieve.

“A lot of credit goes to the untiring coach Wahab Ansari of AG's Office,” was the unanimous opinion of the players.

For his part, Wahab says: “I must say it is a complete, collective effort. The forwardline of J. Shashank, Faisal Bin Osman and L. Zama always has the liberty to attack consistently because of the solid defence put up by Bharat Kumar, Tatam Naidu, Syed Khaleel, Rakesh Kumar, Digamber Rao and Javed Khan. And, the midfield is always reliable and enterprising, manned so efficiently by A. R. Naidu, Alamdar Raza, Zaki Raza and Mohammad Murad.

“Yes, we can field only two foreign players at a time as per the rules of Indian football for these tournaments. They have always chipped in whenever they got a chance. They are such classy players and the sport is in their genes given the way they move around on the field with such finesse and skills,” says the jubilant coach.

For Globe, which trains at the Lal Bahadur Stadium daily on a pay-and-play basis and often plays ‘friendlies' with some teams at the EME, AOC or DRL grounds, it has been a fairy-tale script in the past couple of months.

“Even as we hope that the warring groups would shed their differences and put in place a State Association which is functional in all aspects, we will not rest with these performances. We will continue to keep improving irrespective of the fact that many of these players would continue to suffer in terms of not getting a chance to represent the State in the prestigious Santosh Trophy Nationals because of the in-fighting in the APFA,” says Syed Sadi even as Mohd. Asif, who was adjudged ‘Best Goalkeeper' in four of the five tournaments that Globe FC had won, nods his head in approval.