Football has been my passion from my teen age now, it was my dream to represent my country for the Olympics, had come true. It had been a couple of weeks since we players had returned back from our winter holidays and I was fortunate enough to be given the captain’s arm band , a huge responsibility of leading the team. All the players have been working on their fitness as the Olympics was round the corner, but the biggest worries were about the team sponsors and upcoming elections – where the new team manager was to be elected.
There has been media following us all through the day wanting to know what’s been cooking inside the management committee and why has there been a delay in finalizing the name of the final 20 players who would be making their way to the Olympics. But before all that, it was important to select a team manager.
There were two contenders for the managerial post, one, who has been the ex- Indian football goalkeeper –Obaid Nawas (winner of four Santosh trophies and one of India’s best goal keeper in the Asian cup) his carrier had come to an end after some serious injuries when he was badly beaten up by his team mates for a small mistake from him, that relegated his team from the state league. Obaid Nawas was never seen thereafter until he made his return being one of the successful managers of his state.
The other contender in the managerial election was Mahamood Khan, an ex-footballer, who had to retire on his debut for the nation due to injuries, son of the founder of Maha Developers, a Multi-national company. Mahamood too had passion for the game but has now become the Managing Director of Maha Developers, and rated as one amongst the top 100 millioners , also known to have a huge political influence.
The other day when I was having my Goal keeping practice, saving some instep shots from fellow team strikers I had someone call Mr.Rohan Shah loud, when I turned back I noticed Obaid Nawas standing there, this was the first time I was gonna speak to him, I knew everything about him as he was once my teenage inspiration. He spoke to me about my performances and the way he has seen me grow as a player from the last couple of years. His words were very pleasing and showed his immortal interest in the game.
The same evening, the board members had called upon the two contenders and the players for a meeting. I was heading to the meeting speaking to my love on the phone when I first saw a white Limousine enter into the Club and Mahamood Khan , dressed in his Sherwani, got down from the car, opened his pan box and directed a beeda direct to his saliva dripping mouth. He walked straight with an attitude into the room. I finished my call and followed. After an hour long discussion it was the chance of the two contenders to speak, I could hear the Media personals wait outside, desperate to know what was happening inside.
Obaid Nawas stood up first and started off speaking about the caliber of the team, he also mentioned about the capital debt the management was running into, and promised that winning the competition would bring in huge amounts of capital that would wipe away the debts. He was also confident that- as the team progresses in the competition, sponsors would definitely want to get their name on the players jerseys. He didn’t speak much and kept the talk short. Mahamood Khan, spat his pan out, didn’t stand up, and with his attitude he spoke mainly about the debts, he was ready to sponsor the players a business class flight to the Olympics, also ready to invest all his shares and get other brands to sponsor the players. He never spoke much about the competition, but wanted the team to win it. He had promised to build a Maha township for the players if the team wins, promised that he would start a new and even better football league like the Cricket League going on in the nation where there would be billions of turnovers. Also promised to increase the wages of the players once he became the head manager of the team. Obaid Nawas had a hint of nervousness in his face,and looked helpless. The final decision was to be taken morrow when the National Sports Authority along with the Board member would take the decision, on who should be the next team manager.
It looked like Mahamood Khan would be the team manager. The meeting came to an end, and Mahamood Khan, directed another beeda to his mouth as he left out from the hall, denying speaking to the media who followed him to his Limousine. Obaid Nawas and me left together and we spoke to the press, that the final team decision would be taken tomorrow
I headed to my room ( allotted in the Football club complex) and remember being awake the whole night, thinking about the team future. I was in two minds thinking about who would be the ideal manager, first name that came to my mind was Obaid Nawas, cause he had only one aim, victory. I was also busy thinking about Mahamood Khan, but dunno why I was afraid of him, it would not be easy to speak to a man with such high attitudes and demanding nature, a team would not be stable under him and if any one comes in his way could see his carrier end. Finally before I shut my eyes for the day, I had a small prayer that Obaid Nawas becomes our team manager
I woke up the next day, dressed in my best to attend the final meeting at the National Sports Complex, but as I was about to make a move I heard a shocking news being flashed on the Television that Mahamood Khan has been caught in a scandal last night after the meeting, when he tried bribing Krishna Ananda vatulla, the President of National sports Authority India at his residence. A TV news channel had set up a sting operation to find out about Mahamood Khan’s actions. I couldn’t believe what was flashed on the news channels, I kept rubbing my eyes. My cab driver had now come to the room and informed me that the car is ready. I remember walking past the Media personals who rushed towards me, and I refused speaking to them
When I entered the National Sports Complex, the Vice-president was eagerly waiting there along with other National sport members, and announced that Obaid Nawas was the new manager for the Olympics and the final squad to represent the nation.
A week later under Obaid Nawas, team left for the Olympics, though there were some senior players in the team, I was excited to represent my country in my first ever Olympics and also having a chance to lead from the front. The start to the championship was shaky and we managed to creep through the group stage into the knock out stages, where as Obaid Nawas said - sponsors kept flowing in, and in the end we made it to the finals. Playing in the finals was like a dream come true. A small mistake from me let the team down, and we were trailing till the 88th minute of the game when we equalized. It was extra-time followed by penalties. I remember those Golden words of support said by Obaid Nawas-“ It’s now or never, don’t focus on being a hero, don’t focus on glory, focus on the game and I’m sure success will follow you”. I did let in the first couple of penalties and then managed to save the next three, seeing that we won the first ever Olympics gold in football for our country.
I was delighted and went straight to Obaid Nawas and hugged him and then the whole team followed up. I was glad that it was Obaid Nawas who was with us for the Olympics, who had faith in us and believed that we could do it. While addressing the media after our victory I spoke words of praises about Obaid Nawas, his patience and brilliance. I also mentioned a point that “ it’s not money that can buy a player or a game, who so ever it be, only a true sports person with enough knowledge about the game and dedication to see his nation win can do a miracle like how Obaid Nawas did”.!
--> Sulaiman Sait
--> Sulaiman Sait
This post has been published by me as a part of IBL; the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. Join us at our official website and facebook page.www.indianbloggersleague.com