We need to stick to a plan against Zambia: Nabi

MARGAON: In football, coaches come with different ideologies and different strategies but all have stayed consistent in one aspect as far as Team India is concerned. Syed Rahim Nabi has been an integral part of almost every Team India squad for quite a time now.

‘Versatile’ is perhaps the best word to describe him. His sterling performances have rescued the Indian team many a time and have lifted the confidence of the squad in many a tournament.

We do not need to go long back. His abilities was evident and in full flow in the recently played International Friendlies against Malaysia — where in the first match, besides playing a stellar role, he inspired India to come back from a goal down to score the equaliser. And the performance echoed in India’s comprehensive 3-2 victory in the next match where Nabi wore the armband for the first time for India.

Talk to him and his eyes lit up. “Everyone dreams of leading his country. Like any other normal kid, I too had dreamt of leading my country. But it doesn’t come easy,” he says at one breath.

“You need to perform consistently and establish yourself as an indispensable player. Only then will your name be considered,” Nabi, who can play with equal aplomb in defence, midfield and striking position, added.

“Being a Captain of the National side is always an honor for anyone. It was a special moment for me. I will never forget it,” he told www.the-aiff.com. “But football is a team game and no Captain would be able to win anything unless he gets the support of his team members and support staff. It was a joint effort by all which won us the match against Malaysia,” he maintained.

Nabi knows more than anyone else that football is not about past laurels. The moment a match ends, a new life begins and a player ought to prepare for his next match. “We watched the Zambian side in their last match against Goa XI. They are a very fit and a technically superior side. When we play them, we need to stick to a plan and play to our strength. If we can do it, we will surely come out with our heads high,” he commented.

Apart from the International Friendly against Zambia at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on November 29, the entire squad is looking forward towards the SAFF Championship. “We are the defending SAFF Champions. And this time with the Championships being held in New Delhi, expectations are running high. We cannot let our fans down,” he echoed.

India play Afghanistan in their first match at the SAFF Championship on December 3.