Syed Rahim Nabi: "It seems only my death would have put Mohun Bagan in the clear"
The man at the centre of probably the biggest fiasco in Indian football in this century, finally spoke out in a letter to the press where he expressed his deep grief about the ban imposed on Mohun Bagan from participating in the I-League by AIFF for this and as well as two subsequent years.
A day after the AIFF gave the verdict on imposing one of the biggest penalties in Indian club football history, Syed Rahim Nabi, the versatile midfielder-cum-wingback issued a press statement regarding his feelings about the suspension dished out by the Indian footballing authorities on the national club of India.
Questioning the suspension and holding himself “responsible” for the crisis, Nabi spoke out in a letter. Written in his native tongue Bangla, Nabi said, “With deep pain, I say that we would not have been deprived of football, if I was killed in that incident on December 9,” an emotional Nabi wrote in Bengali in the press statement.
“In a way, my injury is responsible for Mohun Bagan’s decision to withdraw the team after the interval.
“Many had said, if the stone had hit me somewhere else (head), it would have been difficult to escape death. It makes me feel that if I was killed that day, the national club would not have meted out such a harsh punishment.”
Fully supporting Mohun Bagan’s decision, he further wrote: “Mohun Bagan were forced to take such a decision keeping in mind football and football-loving people.
“Had we played in the second-half, more spectators or players might have been injured,” he said.
He further said it’s difficult for them to come out of the mental trauma of not playing in the I-League any more.
“I don’t know how to come out of the mental trauma of not playing in the I-League. I am also deeply hurt by the AIFF suspension as any other sports-loving person.”
Syed Rahim Nabi, the newly enthroned AIFF player of the year for 2012, was seriously injured with a double fracture on his cheekbone in the intense Kolkata Derby on December 9 when a missile launched from the crowd hit him in his head. The injury resulted in the player being carried off the field and rushed to the hospital where it has been claimed that he passed out. Mohun Bagan had subsequently pulled out its team on grounds of lack of security.
The AIFF had acted on the reports presented by the one-man committee of Justice AK Ganguly who had adjudicated the matter on behalf of the AIFF. The judge found Mohun Bagan’s reasons behind their decision to pull out invalid and recommended the subsequent punishment for the 123-year-old club as they were indicted for absconding from the game.