Hyderabad FC- Football Reborn in the Land of the Nizams

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Hyderabad has been historically associated with a lot of sports. There have been some legendary sportspersons who have graced the grandest stages of various sports, who bear their roots from Hyderabad. Players like V.V.S Laxman and Mohammed Azharuddin, who was the former captain of the Indian Cricket Team, former BWF no 1’s like Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu are all a part of Hyderabad’s illustrious list of renowned sports

personalities.

However, it was football that was a very popular sport in Hyderabad from the early 1920’s, with huge backing from its ruler, the Nizam of Hyderabad. With such backing emerged the Hyderabad Football Association in 1939 which led to the formation of one of the most successful clubs in the history of Hyderabad, Hyderabad City Police Football Club. This club was one of the most famous and successful clubs from the city of Hyderabad, winning the Ashe Gold Cup against Royal Air Force from Bangalore which was spearheaded by the

Former Arsenal forward Denis Crompton. This was just the beginning of football domination by the Hyderabad City Police which went on to dominate the football scene in India for the next 10 years, winning the famous Durand Cup in 1950 for the first time, beating one of the favorites, Mohun Bagan which is one of the oldest and biggest football clubs in India.

The precious pearl in the Jewel that is Hyderabad Football was Syed Abdul Rahim who took over as the Coach of the Hyderabad City Police in 1951 and managed them for almost 20 years. Well known as the Architect of Modern Football, Rahim later went on to coach the Indian National Team as well making India a fairly successful team during his tenure as Coach, winning the Asian Games twice and reaching the semi‐finals of the

Olympics. Prior to his death in 1963, Rahim went on to win the Jakarta Games in 1962 which would be his final triumph with the Indian National Team. Rahim’s death engineered an annihilation of football in Hyderabad.

After 56 long years, football returns to Hyderabad with the birth of Hyderabad Football Club, the first team from Hyderabad to compete in the Indian Super League. The club replaces Pune Football Club, which ran into financial troubles and was ultimately dissolved after the 2018‐19 season. The Hyderabad franchise is owned by

Vijay Madduri, a true Hyderabadi and Varun Tripuraneni who was previously associated with the Kerala Blasters.

Hyderabad F.C is captained by Young Indian Goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh who is supported in defence by Spaniard Rafael Lopez (Rafa) and Englishman Matt Kigallon who played for clubs like Real Valladolid and Sunderland respectively. The defence is further solidified by 19‐year‐old defender Sahil Panwar who has represented India at the U20 level as well. The midfield is occupied by the dynamic Austrian Marko Stankovic and Nestor Gordillo who has vast experience from playing in the Spanish La Liga. The dynamic Adil Khan who recently scored the equalizer, a towering header, against Bangladesh in the Qatar World Cup Qualifiers, will be wearing the number 5 shirt and making his presence felt in the heart of the midfield.

The playmaking lies on the crafty head of Brazilian Marcelinho Leite, who will wear the number 10 shirt for Hyderabad FC. He was the winner of the golden boot while plying his trade with Delhi Dynamos in 2016. Nikhil Poojari will surely give the opposition defenders a run for their money in the upcoming season. Scoring goals lies at the feet of the experienced Indian Striker Robin Singh who has scored constantly in the I‐League and the Indian Super League and the Brazilian Bobo. Bobo has represented European Clubs like Beşiktaş, scoring over 50 goals for them.

Phil Brown has got an amazing CV filled with experience in managing English clubs like Bolton Wanderers, Derby County and Hull City and he will be the manager of Hyderabad F.C. Known to have a very charismatic personality, he led Hull City back to the Premier League, the top flight of English Football after taking over from Phil Parkinson in 2016, during a difficult period when Hull city were struggling in the relegation zone in the Championship. During his time at Hull City, he also won the Premier League manager of the month award in September 2008 and inspired Hull City to arguably their best result in history, defeating Arsenal 2‐1 at the Emirates Stadium! He brings with him dynamism and experience which will definitely work in favor of Hyderabad FC. He is assisted by the Former Indian Defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo and former Northern Ireland Goalkeeper Aidan Davidson.

Hyderabad FC were given a warm reception upon their arrival in Hyderabad by the Hyderabad FC fan club, now renamed as “Deccan Legion” who are very excited for the return of football to Hyderabad. Local fan clubs have put their rivalries aside and joined forces to make the journey even more special. Well all in all, everyone is eagerly waiting for the debut of Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League. The players, the support staff, the owners and then fans all want this “resurgence” to be a memorable one.

“We love you Hyderabad, We do,

We love you Hyderabad, We do,

We love you Hyderabad, We do,

Oh, Hyderabad we love you”

- Sharang Mathur and Krishna Kanuparthi

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