I-League: Syed Rahim Nabi signs up with Bharat FC
The 29-year-old joins Bharat FC from ISL franchise Mumbai City FC, after having captained the franchise in its inaugural season
Bharat FC has added another big-name Indian player to its roster in the form of the experienced Syed Rahim Nabi. The 29-year-old joins Bharat FC from ISL franchise Mumbai City FC, after having captained the franchise in its inaugural season. Bharat FC currently occupies the eighth spot in the 11-team Hero I-League. The club recorded a creditable goalless draw against Dempo SC in their first ever I-League encounter and were then unlucky to fall to a 1-2 defeat against Royal Wahingdoh FC.
Nabi’s acquisition though is sure to fortify an already experienced and talented squad at head coach Stuart Watkiss’ disposal. The 29-year-old Nabi, born in Pandua in West Bengal, is a versatile player who can play as a defender, midfielder and has also been deployed in a striking role with profitable returns.
A graduate of the Tata Football Academy (TFA), Nabi began his career with Kolkata side Mohammedan Sporting, spending the 2002-03 and 2003-04 season with them. He tallied 31 appearances and managed to find the net 11 times. In the 2004, he moved to traditional powerhouse East Bengal FC, spending seven seasons with East Bengal.
He logged 113 appearances over these seven years gradually becoming one of the most integral parts of a very competitive side. Over these 113 appearances, the diminutive Nabi scored 26 goals. In 2011, he moved to East Bengal’s cross-town rivals Mohun Bagan AC, playing 47 times for the Mariners over two years and managing to score four goals.
In his glittering club career, Nabi has won the 2009 Federation Cup with East Bengal and also clinched the 2014 IFA Shield with Mohammedan Sporting. A full international for India, Nabi is one of the few players who have served the country with distinction over a period of time.
The 29-year-old has 69 international caps and has also scored eight goals for the national side. He played a starring role in India’s triumph at the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and has also won the Nehru Cup on three occasions.
Nabi gives the side balance: Coach Stuart Watkiss
Bharat FC’s head coach, Stuart Watkiss, said that Nabi’s versatility and his immense knowledge of the Indian game would come in very handy as the team entered a crucial phase of the season. “Nabi is a great player. He has the ability to play as a full-back and that is one area that we have struggled a little. He gives the side natural balance and I think he will be a great addition to this team,” he said.
Amit Kalyani, Bharat FC’s managing director, said that Nabi’s performance over the years, his form in the ISL and his experience were what attracted the club towards the 29-year-old. “Nabi is one of the most respected and skillful players in the game today. I am sure the team will benefit from his experience as well as his versatility which allows us to experiment with team combinations to a certain degree. He has a great attitude and it will be a big boost to have someone of his caliber in the dressing room,” he said.
Nabi excited about Bharat FC
Nabi said that the chance to play in such a strong and well-drilled outfit was something that he could not say no too. “When I heard about Bharat FC’s interest, I was quite excited. I have heard a lot of good things about the club and getting a chance to play in this team is really great.
“I have already done a couple of sessions and the intensity is amazing. The coach is really working hard on all the players and I am sure we will have a successful season ahead,” he said.