My wife! She has been a pillar of strength.
Besides, I would also like to thank my family the staff and officials of All India Football Federation and the General Secretary, Mr. Kushal Das. I would like to mention that the AIFFofficials have always stood beside me and have supported me. Mr. Wim Koevermans has been special to me simply for the faith which he has bestowed on me. I also need to thank the support staff of the National Team squad.
Were you expecting this Award?
My job is to perform on the football pitch. A footballer shouldn’t expect anything at any given time. I stuck to my task and it feels nice when your efforts get recognized.
But yeah, I’m glad to have received it and feel I deserved it too. This year has been good for me as a footballer. This happens to be my third award of the year — previously I received the Mohun Bagan Player of the Year Award and Indian Player of the Year from FPAI (Football Players’ Association of India).
Given the fact that you’ve been chosen by all the I-League coaches, is the AIFF Player-of-the-Year Award all the more special?
No doubt! This is perhaps the biggest compliment a player can expect for. The fact that all the coaches unanimously voted for me makes me all the more confident. It shows that you are being recognised by the right persons.
Is this the best phase of your career?
On the surface, 2012 has been spectacular for me. But I have had exceptional spells previously. I have played in every position my club coaches (over the years) have asked me too. In that sense, I feel, the recognition could have come earlier as well. But no complaints, I am enjoying the moment.
Throw light on some of your best moments in 2012?
Off the football pitch, 2012 has been painful. First, my wife survived a fatal accident and then destiny struck me. I take life as it comes. The award acts like a balm and is very motivating indeed.
What next for Syed Rahim Nabi?
As a footballer, the target stays to win every match. Apart from that, let me be honest and say that I personally feel I deserve the Arjuna Award. I have served the National Team for long and with distinction. Having said that, I know it’s for the mandarin to decide it.