THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Santosh Trophy player Thahir Zaman is currently in the city with his team Gokulam FC which is competing in the Mayor’s Cup. Hailing from Koduvally in Kozhikode, Zaman has been with Gokulam FC reserve team for the past two years. His biggest success with the team was last year when they had emerged as the runners-up in the Kerala Premier League.
He has also been part of the Calicut University football squad which won the all-India Inter-University football championship in 2017. Zaman started playing football when he was in Class IV. He then attended the selection trials of a youth development programme in Kozhikode organised by the Kerala Football Association and Kozhikode district football association. The event became a turning point in his life.
“When I participated in the trials, I was the youngest player in the group,’’ said Zaman. The impressive performance of the player impressed coach Deepak C M, who invited him to join the Kozhikode-based Universal Soccer Academy. He then went on to play for the academy team till Class XII. “I played as a striker in the beginning.
After assessing my capabilities, the coach changed my position to midfield,” said Zaman. The positional change also worked wonders for Zaman and earned him a selection in the U-17 Kerala State team in 2010. Zaman’s impressive performances with the state team in the U-17 nationals enabled him to participate in the Indian U-17 national school camp the same year.
At present, Zaman trains with his Gokulam FC teammates at the EMS Corporation stadium in Kozhikode. His daily routine starts with a three-hour session at the stadium with fellow Santosh Trophy players Emil Benny, Shihad Nelliparamban and Alex Saji. After the practice sessions, Zaman does workouts to improve his skills and fitness.
His aim is to play professional football and earn a place in a top I-League side in the future. Zaman also expressed his desire to play for the national football team. “I hope that India qualifies for the World Cup one day and I get to play a major part in it,” he added.