2/21/2018 1:59:01 PM (GMT+3)

'I won’t forget Mr Dhiren Dey’s love and respect for players'

Calcutta: Mohammad Farid, who debuted with Hyderabad City Police in 1974 and played till 1977 in his hometown, preferred to stay away from the limelight after bidding adieu in 2000 following a glittering career with Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and Food Corporation of India (FCI).

His fans in Bengal still remember his last-minute goal against Nepal in the 1987 SAF Games football final while some post old photographs from some of his outstanding performances on the Facebook.

“One of my friends introduced me to Facebook recently. It was a great feeling to have reconnected with the fans and old team-mates. I had never of thought of telling the world about my achievements. It wasn’t necessary because the love and admiration from fans and team-mates were sufficient. But thanks to FB, I’m flooded with a lot of friend requests from fans whom I don’t even know,” Farid said with a surge of pride.

He also represented the country at the Kings Cup (Bangkok, 1981), UAE friendlies matches (Dubai, 1981), Presidents Cup (Seoul, 1982), Asian Games (New Delhi, 1982), Nehru Cup (Calicut, 1986) and SAF Games (Calcutta, 1987).

So, how did he land up in Calcutta?

“In 1980, I was selected for the senior national team for the 1982 Asian Games. The preparation had started two years before at the insistence of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The camp was held at Salt Lake Stadium. We were put up at Karunamayee,” said Farid, who was born on July 7, 1959.

His coy and sober nature was always appreciated while his grit and determination were his assets on the field.

“One day, the then East Bengal football secretary took me to a south Calcutta flat where I was offered to join them. Later, they kept me at Hotel Bliss at Ekdalia Road. They released me only after I had signed a contract. I was just 20 then.”

That’s how Farid’s journey to the City of Joy started. He was lucky to have played alongside star Hyderabadis Mohammad Habib (in EB), Victor Amalraj (EB, MS and MB) and Shabbir Ali (MS).

Farid performed with such steel and style that he remained a top catch for all the clubs in those golden years in Calcutta.

“I left East Bengal and joined Mohammedan in 1983, but switched to Bagan the next year,” he said.

In fact, Farid, whose real name is Shazore Alam Khan, had his best stint at the green and maroon club.

“Those three years were the most enjoyable one in my career. I’ve had a very good experience at Bagan. I won’t ever forget Mr Dhiren Dey’s love and respect for the players,” said Farid, who divides his time between his job at FCI and imparting free coaching to poor kids from Keshtopur at Salt Lake’s DL Block.