I. M. Vijayan
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|Date of birth||25 April 1969|
|Place of birth||Thrissur, Kerala, India|
|Height||1.8034 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|1994–1997||JCT Mills Phagwara||14||(11)|
|2001–2002||East Bengal Club||6||(1)|
|2005–2006||East Bengal Club||4||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Inivalappil Mani Vijayan (born 25 April 1969) is a former professional Indian football player. Playing in the striker position, he formed a successful attacking partnership with Baichung Bhutia for the Indian national team in the late nineties and early 2000s. Vijayan was crowned Indian Player of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999, the first player to win the award multiple times. He was also awarded the Arjuna award in 2003.
Vijayan started out as a seller of soda in the Thrissur Municipal Corporation Stadium, Kerala earning 10 paise (0.02 Cents) a bottle. Eventually he was chosen to play for the Kerala Police club and rose to become one of the top names in domestic football. A highly aggressive player, he eventually became the highest earner in Indian club football as well as a regular in the India team. He scored one of the fastest ever international goals in a match against Bhutan in the 1999 SAF Games, when he managed to do the same in 12 seconds. Faster international goals on record include ones by Davide Gualtieri in 8 seconds and Hakan Şükür in 11 seconds. Vijayan's talents attracted interest from clubs in Malaysia and Thailand, although he spent his entire career in India until retirement. By the end of his career he had scored 40 international goals in 79 matches for India. Since retiring from international football Vijayan has set up a football academy to train young players in his home town.Since a short gap presently he is playing for Kerala Police.
Early Life & Domestic Career
Vijayan was born on 25 April 1969 at Thrissur City, Kerala. He began his life in a gravely poor environment, and had to sell soda bottles in the Thrissur Municipal Corporation Stadium for helping his family. He studied in Church Mission Society High School, Thrissur (CMSHSS, Thrissur). He had a passion for the game of football, and somehow caught the eye of the then DGP of Kerala, M.K. Joseph who got him selected for the Kerala Police football club at the age of 17 years. Vijayan delivered brilliant performance for Kerala Police at Quilon Nationals 1987, and was able to impress the national football fraternity very soon with his impeccable skills and highly aggressive style of playing. He continued to play for Kerala Police until the year 1991, when he switched to Mohun Bagan He came back to Kerala Police in 1992 and the next year switched back to Mohun Bagan. The very next year in 1994 he joined JCT Mills Fagwara, and stayed with them for 3 years till 1997, when he left JCT to join FC Kochin. After spending a one year tenure with the club, he again moved to Mohun Bagan in 1998 and came back to FC Kochin in 1999.
Vijayan left FC Cochin in 2001 and joined East Bengal Club, which he left in 2002 to join JCT Mills Phagwara once again. After finishing a two-year stint with the club, he left JCT in 2004 and joined Churchill Brothers S.C. He left the club after one year and moved to East Bengal Club in 2005, which was his last professional football club as an active football player. He left East Bengal in the year 2006.
Shri I.M. Vijayan made his debut in international football in the year 1989 and played in a number of tournaments such as Nehru Cup, pre-Olympics, pre-World Cup, SAAF Cup and SAF Games. Vijayan and Baichung Bhutia formed one of the deadliest forward lines the Indian Football team had ever seen, and helped the team score various vital goals in international tournaments. Vijayan was part of the victorious Indian team in the 1999 South Asian Football Federation Cup and scored one of the fastest international goals in history during the tournament, hitting the net against Bhutan after only 12 seconds. He also finished top scorer in the Afro-Asian Games event held in India in 2003 with four goals. Vijayan formally retired from international football after the Afro-Asian Games of 2003.
A biographical film, titled Kalo Hiran and directed by Cherian Joseph, was released in 1998. The title translates as black buck and is a reference to Vijayan's popular nickname during his playing days.
After retiring from football, Vijayan started his acting career. His debut was through playing the lead role in the film Shantham, directed by Jayaraj. Later on, he went to act in around 15 films, all in Malayalam.
- Akasthile Paravakal
- Bachelor Party
- The Great Father
- Ben Johnson
After retirement from active football, Vijayan concentrated his attention upon his Football School that he had opened in Thrissur. In 2010 Vijayan formally took over a coaching job with Southern Samity, a premier division side in the Calcutta Football League.
In March 2017, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, appointed Vijayan as the national observer for football.
- "A down to earth footballer". Sportstar. 22 November 2003. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "AIFF award 2008". Top news.in. 24 December 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "Arjuna award 2003". The Hindu. 3 August 2003. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "http://www.rediff.com/sports/1999/sep/28safsoc.htm". rediff. 28 September 1999. Retrieved 16 October 2011. External link in
- "Invalappil Mani Vijayan - Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "Vijayan begins coaching career". Rediffnews. 18 July 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "About Us". boxersports.in.
- "Vijayan's `football' ready for launch". The Hindu. UNI. 14 July 2004.
- "A new role for Vijayan". The Hindu. 15 July 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "Government designates 12 Olympians as National Observers". The Indian Express. PTI. Retrieved 30 March 2017.