‘GOAL will help budding footballers attain ultimate goal’

According to him, “the game used to be a lot more fierce compared to what we see these days, but there was always fair play.

Published: 11th January 2017 04:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2017 04:50 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: It is well over a quarter of a century since Abdul Azeez-- ‘Malappuram Azeez’ to friends and admirers-- hung up his boots to bring the curtain down on an illustrious career. And Aziz’s exit also marked the culmination of a period when football was a rage among the players and enthusiasts in Malappuram.

Abdul Azeez, who returned to the pitch as one of the selectors of the ongoing TNIE GOAL Inter-College Football Tournament at the Malappuram District Sports Council stadium, was full of appreciation for TNIE GOAL,which he said would provide the up and coming footballing stars the much needed firmament  to showcase their rich talent and realise their full potential.   

“Let’s be honest, many should follow in the footsteps of TNIE GOAL. I can see the intensity of the competition here. This will help the players to hone their skills. My request to them is that they should aim to be professional. This is the best opportunity for them to have such a goal in mind,” he said.

And it was pure nostalgia for the former Mohammedan Sporting Club player when he returned to the pitch at the Malappuram District Sports Council stadium, where he had grown up and perfected his dribbling skills.

“This is where I began kicking the ball. As a kid, I played football during most of the daytime hours. I even kept a ball by the bedside so that I could do keep-ups soon after I woke up. The game held out the possibility of immense joy,” says Azeez, who had an eight year-long career with the Kolkata team.

According to him, “the game used to be a lot more fierce compared to what we see these days, but there was always fair play. None overstepped the limits even if there was intense rivalry among the teams. That is because the players respected one another, and always maintained good sportsman spirit”.

“Very many players have grown up playing on this ground then called Kavathu Maidan under the control of the Revenue Department.Yesteryear soccer stalwarts, including international Moideen Kutty, former Santosh Trophy striker M R C Chekku and goalkeeper Manjakandan Aboobackar had all picked up their football lessons from here,” Azeez adds.

The former South India football team captain, who had represented a Second Division squad in the then West Germany’s Bundesliga in 1972, is also pained that there haven’t been many individually talented players now as it used to be in his heyday.  “After I M Vijayan, have you found any player of his level? My answer would be a firm no.”

“But then you have to blame the lack of tournaments in the state for this. Even this stadium had hosted a number of competitions like the Moidu Memorial All-Kerala Football Tournament in 1952,  All-India Civil Services Tournament and Kerala Kaumudi Football Tournament, among others,” recalls Azeez, who had also donned the colours of Mumbai’s  Orkay Mills.



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