Mohammed Habib, the playmaker par excellence of the Seventies who scored in opposition to Pele’s New York Cosmos in Mohun Bagan colors and made the soccer icon be aware of his recreation, died on Tuesday.
The previous India participant was 74.
Habib, who was affected by dementia and Parkinson’s syndrome for the previous couple of years, breathed his final in Hyderabad, his birthplace.
Habib was survived by his spouse and three daughters.
A bronze medallist within the 1970 Asian Video games in Bangkok beneath the captaincy of fellow Hyderabadi Syed Nayeemuddin and supervisor PK Banerjee, Habib has represented the large three of Kolkata Maidan — Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting in his heydays, dominating the Mecca of Indian soccer for a protracted interval within the late Nineteen Sixties by means of to the 70s.
Following a profitable profession that noticed him achieve legendary standing and earn the tag of the nation’s first “true skilled” footballer for his refusal to simply accept quite a few job presents that got here his manner owing to his on-field heroics, Habib took to teaching on the Tata Soccer Academy (TFA).
Later, he additionally acted as chief coach of the Indian Soccer Affiliation academy in Haldia.
At a time when the golf equipment would pay meagre sum to their greatest gamers, he was unruffled and remained knowledgeable in true sense all through his profession, for he thought of taking part in soccer as his actual and solely occupation.
One of many highlights of Habib’s profession was when he performed for Mohun Bagan in opposition to the visiting Cosmos Membership which additionally featured the legendary Pele in 1977 in a pleasant on a rain-soaked Eden Gardens.
Up in opposition to a visiting crew that had a star-studded line up with huge names like Pele, Carlos Alberto, Georgio Chinaglia and others in its ranks, Mohun Bagan held their very own in a creditable 2-2 draw with midfield mainstay Habib being one of many scorers.
In one among his greatest acknowledgments, Habib was singed out by Pele after the match with the one of many world’s biggest participant praising his recreation.
Bade Miyaan’ of Kolkata Maidan’s ‘That 70s present’
He did not have a bicycle kick like Shyam Thapa nor may he pulverise opposition with the bulldozer-like masculinity of Subhash Bhowmick.
He was additionally not in possession of an aesthetically pleasing left foot, like Prasun Banerjee had, but there wasn’t an even bigger crowd-puller than Mohammed Habib who dominated the hearts of Indian soccer followers from 1970 to 1980.
The previous India captain, who died on Tuesday aged 74, represented the nation in 35 worldwide matches and scored 11 targets, however it’s his exploits for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal that grew to become part of Indian soccer’s folklore.
The Hyderabadi was a part of the Indian soccer crew that received the Asian Video games bronze in Bangkok and was maybe the second most revered No. 10 within the nation after the late Chuni Goswami.
The land of nizams gifted Indian soccer a few of its biggest names from coach SA Hakim to Yusuf Khan and former India captain Syed Nayeemuddin however nobody may tug the strings of a Kolkata soccer lover’s coronary heart like ‘Bade Miyaan’ (Grasp of Home) did when the game was a craze within the ‘Metropolis of Pleasure’.
He was the chief of any crew with out the arm-band, as he did not want any designation to be heard. His physique of labor unfold throughout the Ambedkar Stadium, Cooperage, Nehru Stadium and lots of extra such grounds.
An inside ahead, who operated from the deep, his immaculate receiving and talent to have that poacher’s intuition made him a real blue No. 10 for the crimson and gold as properly inexperienced and maroons.
By the Nineteen Eighties, Habib performed for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan with aplomb.
If he gave East Bengal three Durand Cups and a number of Rovers Cup throughout that part, Bagan received triple crown in 1977, when he switched allegiance, and in addition earned Pele’s reward for his objective in opposition to New York Cosmos on the Eden Gardens, which resembled a pool of mud.
He’s the one participant until date to attain three targets within the Durand Cup remaining for a profitable crew.
“I performed principally in opposition to bade miyaan but when he was contained in the field, I’d be decided to go in for one-on-one tussle with him. I succeeded in various video games, and he would say, ‘shaabash beta. Aur accha karna hai’.
“What stood out for bade miyaan was his willpower,” Bhaskar Ganguly, the captain of the nationwide crew that performed the Asian Video games quarter-final in 1982, recollected.
A religious Muslim, who prayed 5 instances a day, Habib’s life was all about self-discipline. He would keep in Mohun Bagan and East Bengal mess throughout his days in Kolkata and any junior staying within the membership facility and returning to his room after 7 pm, could be admonished within the choicest of language.
“Habib da may by no means tolerate insincerity even throughout coaching classes,” the late Bhowmick would recall throughout his time as East Bengal coach.
There may be an incident from a Santosh Trophy match in opposition to Punjab, the place Bengal had been down 0-3, which has now develop into a fable.
After Bengal conceded the third objective and goalie Tarun Basu (former India keeper), was amassing the ball from the web, Habib checked out Bhowmick and stated “Mom ****, you individuals ought to kill yourselves if Bengal lose immediately.”
Bengal received that match after scoring three targets within the subsequent 20 minutes.
Habib beloved Bengal and Kolkata and was a part of the 1969, 1971, 1972, and 1975 Santosh Trophy profitable crew. To not overlook 5 Durand Cup, seven Rovers Cup, 10 Calcutta League titles. He additionally received the Federation Cup twice.
Nonetheless, the extent of recognition that Habib loved may solely be gauged by one story that former IPL governing council member Subir Ganguly, additionally a former East Bengal official and ardent membership devotee, remembered.
“It was in mid Seventies and Habib was the largest catch throughout that point. Now Mohun Bagan membership had already despatched him an advance cheque earlier than he left for a season finish break and went again to Hyderabad. These had been novice days when cash was there however no formal paperwork. When you switched golf equipment, you took advance and it was purely religion primarily based,” Ganguly recollected.
“Now Habib da was given a post-dated cheque of Central Financial institution of India. By some means, our membership officers got here to know. There was one IFA (state physique) consultant who was additionally an East Bengal functionary. He knew that Habib would signal for Bagan. He shortly took a newspaper chopping and went to Hyderabad.
“What was there in that information clip? Effectively, one of many Central Financial institution branches had caught hearth and that information was printed. He confirmed it to Habib and instructed, you’ll be able to by no means encash that cheque.
“Mohun Bagan had despatched practice tickets to come back and full the signing formality however a confused Habib was instructed that he ought to get down at Burdwan station and East Bengal officers would take him straight for signing,” Ganguly laughed.
In his later years, he coached Tata Soccer Academy cadets together with Alok Das, Rennedy Singh, Dipendu Biswas and present All India Soccer Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey.
He was a fighter however not a strategist and therefore wasn’t very profitable as senior stage coach of Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting.
There was one incident when he coached Mohmmedan Sporting which remains to be etched in reminiscence.
One has heard about Habib’s well-known mood however bought a whiff when he scolded a younger participant named Wazir Ali. “Waziiiirrrrr Gaadheeee”, he shouted and the one scribbling notes from a distance needed to vanish. Habib had that aura.
Relaxation in Peace No. 10.