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Hakim’s tribute to his father

Many young footballers and rookie journalists may not know much about Syed Shahid Hakim. His CV is quite impressive. A former FIFA referee, Olympian, coach and ex-Director of Sports Authority of India (Calcutta). Probably no one could boast of a fantastic sports background like him. Besides, he is also the son of India’s legendary coach, the late SA Rahim.

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At 70, Hakim sahib is still a workaholic. Drop in any of these days at the Jamia Milia Islamia’s football ground, he would be seen managing a tournament commemorated in the memory of his father, who according to him, didn’t get recognition both from the federation and the government.

In its second year, SA Rahim Memorial Football Tournament is Hakim’s brainchild and supported by the Jamia University.

“Who remembers Rahim? Nobody,” he said.

“It’s not because I’m his son. It’s because he was India’s most successful coaches,” he explained his father’s record.

One of the finest referees in the 70′s and 80′s, Hakim had coached almost all the top clubs and the national team. But he holds a grudge against the federation who had almost forgotten the legendary coach.

“Has there been any tournament in his name?” he asked. Hakim sounds a bit outspoken and hits out at the system but he calms down. “What Rahim had given to Indian football not even our foreign coaches have achieved,” he added.

“You can ask his students PK (Banerjee), Chuni (Goswami) and Balaram about my father’s qualities.”

Rahim was born on August 17, 1909. He was the greatest player of Hyderabad from the 1920′s to the early forties. He also served as a national referee in Kolkata and other places in India and Sri Lanka, apart from refereeing in his home state.

“He produced more than one dozen FIFA referees and dozens of national referees,” said Hakim.

But Rahim became famous first with the legendary Hyderabad Police team and later with the Indian team, with whom he won the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games gold. Besides, who can forget India’s stupendous performance in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where they finished fourth.

He retired as the principal of a high school in Hyderabad, and had been associated with the game till his death on June 11, 1963.

“It’s a joke that you won’t even see his portrait in the federation office at Dwarka,” Hakim added.

We still don’t know why Rahim didn’t get recognition. Last year, former footballers from his state signed a letter to the then Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, to consider his name for the Padma awards. But nothing happened.

It was then Hakim decided to start a football event in his memory.

“After some years from now, I’m sure everybody will forget him,” he said.

Najeeb Jung, Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia, inaugurated the tournament on February 25 at Jamia Sports Complex (Bhopal Ground).

Twenty-four teams from various colleges/universities are participating in this tournament, which according to Hakim, is a small tribute to his late father.

The tournament ends on March 14.

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