7/26/2018 10:43:16 PM (GMT+3)

Meet Indian football’s original 'badshah' Akbar

Meet Indian football’s original

HYDERABAD: There’s a lot to talk when you sit across former greats Mohammad Akbar and Victor Amalraj.

And, if you’re born in the 1970s and in Calcutta, then you would’ve to turn the clock back to an era when football overshadowed cricket.

Akbar, the original badshah of Indian football, dazzled with Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting in the 70s.

“I can’t forget Calcutta. The love and admiration that I have got from the people there. It’ll be with me forever. I miss the city and its love for the sport. I was born in Hyderabad, but Calcutta gave me an identity,” Akbar told khelupdates.com.

Akbar, like his elder brother and another legend Mohammed Habib and Mohammad Moin, left their hometown and established themselves as finest footballers.

“Akbar bhai is a legend. A tremendous scorer who had a nose for goals. He was the top-scorer for four years,” chipped in Amalraj, who was famous for his linking ability with the forwards.

When reminded him his best moments in Calcutta, the once most sought after forward added, “The 13-second goal which helped Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal in 1976 derby still etched in my memory.”

On Thursday, Akbar called on his former team-mate at his FCI office, HACA Bhawan, where the duo had a good round of discussion on Hyderabad, Calcutta and Indian football.

But the conversation took a short break as Amalraj, who captained India and all Big Three in Calcutta, ordered Hyderabadi biryani in badshah’s honour.  

“When you’ve a plate of Hyderabadi biryani in front of you, football can take a break for a while,” said Amalraj.

The former star is currently on a visit to his hometown from USA.

“I stay with my son at Rochester. I come to India once or twice a year. Two of my daughters stay here. I come to Hyderabad to meet all my old friends and former team-mates and then have a get-together of former Hyderabadi footballers,” added Akbar.

The 66-year-old still remember his Calcutta days and rolled out several food joints where he used to hang around with his friends.

Wahan par bohot izzat aur mohabbat mila hai. Main bhula nain paunga. Calcutta ke log football ke deewane they aur hamesha rahenge (I’ve got a lot of respect and love from Calcutta. I won’t forget it. They are passionate about the sport and they will forever be,” said Akbar.

Asked if he ever would take a trip down the memory lane in the city, he added, “I would love to. Next time, I want to be there. The city which breathes football and respects the sportspersons.”