Syed Abdul Rahim

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Syed Abdul Rahim
Syed Abdul Rahim, India Football Coach.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1909-08-17)17 August 1909
Place of birth Hyderabad, Hyderabad State
Date of death 11 June 1963(1963-06-11) (aged 53)
Place of death Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Youth career
1927–1931 Osmania University
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943 Qamar Club
1950 HSV Hoek
Teams managed
1943–1950 Hyderabad City Police (head coach & secretary)
1950–1963 India
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Abdul Rahim (17 August 1909 – 11 June 1963) was an Indian football coach and manager of the Indian national team from 1950 until his death in 1963 and a former player. He is regarded as the architect of modern Indian football.[1][2] Basically a teacher by profession, he was a good motivator and his tenure as a coach is regarded as a "golden age" of football in India. He led the Indian team to the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Football tournament making India the first ever Asian country to achieve this place.[3][4]


Rahim was born on 17 August 1909 in Hyderabad, India. In his early years, he represented the City College, Hyderabad and played for a team "Eleven Hunters" that was made up of current and former students of the college. After a couple of years as a teacher, he returned to the college to complete his arts degree. Therafter he worked as the teacher succesively in Kacheguda Middle School, Urdu Shariff School, Darul-ul-Uloom High School and Chadarghat High School. He took a diploma in physical education and took charge of sports activities in the last two schools.[5]

In 1942, Rahim was elected as the Secretary of the Hyderabad Football Association.[5] He also became the coach of the Hyderabad City Police from 1943 until 1963.[6][7] Rahim's first assignment as the coach of India was to train the team that toured Ceylon in 1949.[5] Two years later, India won the gold in the first Asian Games.

During Rahim's tenure, the Indian football team enjoyed a great deal of success. Apart from winning the Asian games in 1951 and 1962, India also reached the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics which is still considered India's greatest ever achievement in football.[8]

He selected his son, Syed Shahid Hakim for the 1960 Summer Olympics tournament.[9]

Rahim's last success was at the Jakarta Asian games in 1962 where India went on to win gold, beating South Korea in the finals in front of a crowd of 100,000.


Syed Abdul Rahim died from cancer on 11 June 1963 after being bed-ridden for six months.[5]


When Indian national coach Alberto Fernando had gone to a workshop in Brazil in 1964, he said:

What I learnt from Rahim in 1956 is being taught now in Brazil. Verily, he was a football prophet.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

A biopic on Syed Abdul Rahim named Maidaan is going to release on 13 August 2021 with Ajay Devgn in lead role.


  1. ^ Basu, Jaydeep (17 August 2009). "Forgotten on birth centenary- Legendary coach rahim". Calcutta, India: Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  2. ^ "India's football heroes of Rome Olympics felicitated". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Legends Of Indian Football". 10 July 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  4. ^ "1956 Olympics team members to return monetary grant". Chennai, India: 5 August 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d N. Ganesan, "Loss to Indian Soccer", Sport & Pastime, p.14, 27 July 1963.
  6. ^ novy kapadia (2000). "triumphs and disaster: the story of indian football, 1889-2000" (PDF). p. 19. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  7. ^ Paul Dimeo, James Mills (2001). Soccer in South Asia: empire, nation, diaspora. Antony Rowe Ltd. p. 20. ISBN 0-7146-8170-9. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Olympians want Padma Bhushan for Rahim". 17 January 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The wonder that was Rahim". The New Indian Express. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2013.

External links[edit]