Nabi's journey as a footballer
Syed Rahim Nabi was born in Pandua, West Bengal, and started playing football in the 4"10' tournaments. He trained under Coach Bidyut Pal in his early days. Later on, he played for Shyam Nagar Milan Sangha under Coach Murari Sur. Nabi said, "Murari Sue has produced many great footballers in the Maidan like Subrata Bhattacharya."
When asked if any of his family members had played football, Nabi said, "My elder brother, popularly known as Chotu Nabi, played for a few clubs like Milan Bithi etc."
Nabi says his big break came when got a chance in the U-16 Bengal team. After that, he represented the U-16 Indian team, the U-19 Bengal team and then the U-23 Bengal team. He was also a part of the Indian team that went to South Africa on a tour in 2003-04. "I scored a hattrick during that tour," Nabi added.
Nabi, who trained at the Tata Football Academy for one and half years, think he joined it a bit late. Ranjan Choudhary was his coach at that time. Players like Tulunga, Subhash Chakraborty etc. were Nabi's mates at TFA.
Before his move to McDowell Mohun Bagan in 2011, Nabi played with Mohammedan Sporting for 2 years and East Bengal for 7 years. Nabi said, "McDowell Mohun Bagan officials approached me a few times before, but we never had the final talk and also I used to have multiple year contracts with East Bengal."
Nabi started his career as a striker, but while in East Bengal, Coach Subhash Bhowmick used him as a side back and side half. When asked why his position was changed, Nabi replied saying, "May be seeing my ability to make good overlapping runs and seeing my ability to work hard."
Nabi, who idolizes Dipendu Biswas and Diego Maradona, is fan of Argentina and Spanish giants Barcelona. He likes to spend his leisure time with his wife. Footballer Mehtab Hussain is Nabi's good friend and they share a good bond and healthy rivalry.
Nabi has been remarked as one of McDowell Mohun Bagan's best recruits in the past few years. In his first season with the Mariners, Nabi made 29 appearances and scored four goals. He was pivotal to the national team's success in the SAFF Cup and was recently named the vice-captain of the national team. At the FPAI awards, Nabi was voted the 'Indian Player of the Year.'
We look forward many more stellar performances for the man we love to call Mr. Versatile.
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