Shabbir says his priceless gift is Abbas Union’s participation in I-League third division

Shabbir was also thankful to the people who came forward with financial assistance for the club especially Praveen Kumar, an IAS from the AP government, and Shabbir Moosavi.

Shabbir Ali, the first Indian footballer to have received the Dhyan Chand award, the highest in Indian sports for lifetime achievement, feels taking his Hyderabad team Abbas Union to the qualifier of Second Division I-League last season (I-League-third division) has been one of the memorable achievements. 

The 68-year-old former India international, the former Indian captain and coach, and one of the finest strikers of his time has been associated closely with Abbas Union for almost the last 40 years. Abbas Union is one of the oldest clubs across the state, started its journey in 1938. 

Shabbir Ali also feels proud stating, “I am the product of this club. The club was near my home. I used to start playing football at this club. So, how can I forget my roots? I have been closely associated with the club for nearly 50 years. Whenever I returned home I donated balls and jerseys."

He added, "Even in 1987, I went to Dhaka to take part in an international tournament and after returning I brought jerseys to my club. I feel, that playing in I-League third division last season has been one of my biggest achievements.” 

Shabbir is the president of Abbas Union, the club that started as Abbas Union FC (AUFC) Darulshifa, Hyderabad. AUFC Became the top private club of Hyderabad In 2022-23 season. He gave credit to the club’s secretary Hussain Abidi, Ex- Supritendent Central Excise as well as the state footballers, other officials and also the club's senior players. and a few other senior members for their co-operation. 

The former Indian skipper mentioned Olive Hospital and Toyam Sports Ltd. for their encouragement and financial assistance for the Abbas Union after the team ensured berth in the third division I-League.

The president remembered, “We lost in all of our five group league matches played in Bangalore. We could have drawn the match against Diamond Harbour FC, but conceded a goal in the injury time." 

Abbas Union FC made its team with most of the local boys with an average age of 22 years. The team reached the top four for the first time, participating in eight matches in total including the three Super League round matches.

Shabbir explained, "The boys were lured by the opportunity to take part in the I-League and they were excited to have participated in the League for the first time after two decades. Even a few of our boys have been called up also by a few other teams after their performance in the third division I-League. I feel it is a big achievement.” 

Shabbir who also thanked AIFF and the TFA expressed gratitude to the people who came forward with financial assistance for the club especially Praveen Kumar, an IAS from the AP government, and Shabbir Moosavi.

Shabbir when asked about his plans, revealed, “My wish is to provide job opportunity for our boys. Representing Telangana is one avenue for them to apply and get a job at any government office. Similarly, playing in the third division I-League also is opening the gateway for them to obtain a government job.”

Shabbir wants to continue his contribution by exploring boys and girls also from Hyderabad, building them for the future. 

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