Jamshid Nassiri in his heydays could cast a magical spell on his fans with his craft and ability on the field. He was a rage all around the country. An Iranian, he had played in all important tournaments in the country. Even in the City’s blue riband, Nizam Gold Cup Football Tournament he grabbed the attention with his fleeting runs. Recently in the city for a promotional event of Star Sports Young Heroes, he waxed eloquent on the golden era when Hyderabad footballers reigned supreme.
Nassiri said it pained him that city’s football standards have crash. “I have seen the likes of Mohd Habib, Shabbir, Akbar, Victor Amal Raj. I feel sorry there is no football here because of lack of management, marketing and infrastructure. People connected to football have not worked for the development of the game,’’ he said.
Nassiri, who is here to search for the next football hero, said he is expecting good response from this project. “I would like to see Hyderabad football back to the top,” he said.
“I think it is very difficult to back the old glory of Hyderabad football. Lets hope small contributions from us ignite the passion for the game. Hyderabad has been away from big time football for a long time now, even as cities like Bangalore, Kochi have representation in some way or the other,’’ he lamented.
Talking about yesteryears soccer players, Nassiri said, “Habib was one of the top players of the country in the 80’s. He could have walked into any international side if he had played in any European teams. He was genius with the ball but unfortunately there was lack of exposures those days.’’
The Iranian footballer, who is now settled in Kolkata, had a word of praise for Amal Raj. “He was one of the stars of Indian football. As a mid-fielder, he was too good. He had those long range shots where were deadly,” he quipped.
The 56-year-old also said Indian football standards too has come down. “Football teams of 70’s and 90’s were better. Their physically abilities, technical aspect, knowledge of the game was far superior. But after 90’s there was gradual decline in the standard due to lack of proper management, infrastructure, lack of exposure in international events,’’ he rued.
Calling Kolkata the Mecca of Indian football, Nassiri recalled that there was high level competition among Mohammedan Sporting, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and other clubs.
“Can you imagine football was number one even in Mumbai till the 80’s? The Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai was played full to the capacity. Bangalore and Hyderabad also used to draw big crowds. I remember the Nizam Gold Cup in Hyderabad. I played for Mohammedans and we won the trophy. India football was in much better health then. The disappearance of clubs Mafatlal, Tata, Mahindra is a big blow to the Indian football,’’ he opined.
After playing for East Bengal and Mohammedans for several years, Nassiri became a coach as he desired to give back something to this country.
“Stars Sports Young India Hero is a project will work at school level and provide guidance to young and talented players,” he explained. Two or three best players will be selected from 16 cities, including Hyderabad.
“We will form a 40-side club and they will be trained by professional coaches. It will be zeroed to 16 and they will given high intensify training camps,” the ace coach said.