Syed Abdul Rahim (Football Coach) Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More

Syed Abdul Rahim

Real NameSyed Abdul Rahim
Nickname(s)Rahim Saab, The Architect of Modern Indian Football, The Sleeping Giant, The Stan Cullis of India, The Indian Ferguson
Profession(s)Football Coach, Teacher
Famous ForCoaching the Indian team to the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Football Tournament
Personal Life
Date of Birth17 August 1909
BirthplaceHyderabad, (then Hyderabad State), India
Date of Death11 June 1963
Place of DeathIndia
Age (at the time of death)53 Years
Death CauseCancer
Zodiac sign/Sun signLeo
HometownHyderabad, (then Hyderabad State), India
SchoolNot Known
College/UniversityOsmania University, India
Educational QualificationGraduate
Food HabitNon-Vegetarian
Girls, Affairs and More
Marital StatusMarried
Wife/SpouseName Not Known
ChildrenSon- Syed Shahid Hakim (Former Olympic football and FIFA official)
Syed Abdul Rahim's son Syed Shahid Hakim
Daughter- None
ParentsNames Not Known
Favourite Things
Favourite Football TeamHungary
Favourite Football Player(s)Gusztáv Sebes, Robert Andrew Fruval

Syed Abdul Rahim

Some Lesser Known Facts About Syed Abdul Rahim

  • Did Syed Abdul Rahim smoke?: Yes….
  • Did Syed Abdul Rahim drink alcohol?: Not Known
  • A sports lover since his childhood, Rahim was fascinated by football and had amazing football skills at such a young age.
  • He was not only good at academics, but also athletics and used to participate in his school’s sports events.
  • In the mid-1920s, football culture came to Hyderabad, which attracted a lot of youngsters including Rahim.
  • Later, he went on to play football for the Osmania University football team.
  • He started his career as a school teacher, but never left his first love “football” and was counted amongst the greatest players of Hyderabad from the 1920s to the early 1940s, when he used to play for ‘Qamar Club,’ one of the best teams in Hyderabad’s local league of that time.
  • In 1939, the Hyderabad Football Association came into existence, and 3 years later, in 1942, SM Hadi became the President of Hyderabad Football Association and Rahim its Secretary, which he remained till he was alive.
  • Rahim was a genius coach, much ahead of his time, and had the ability to spot raw talents and mold them into brilliant players. His strict disciplinarian nature, tactics, motivational speeches, and far-sightedness, played a huge role in producing a chain of footballers, changing their attitude towards the game, and improving the infrastructure of football in Hyderabad.
  • Earlier, Indians used to play football in a typical British style of dribbling the ball. But when Rahim became the coach of ‘Hyderabad City Police’ (HCP) or ‘City Afghans’ in 1943, he introduced the concept of passing the ball more and focus on being ambidextrous i.e. ability to play with either foot. To sharpen up players’ reflexes, speed, stamina, skills, and techniques, he used to organise customised football tournaments for youngsters. Syed Abdul Rahim - Hyderabad City Police
  • In just a matter of few months, he transformed the HCP team into a dominating local team that came into limelight in 1943 after their famous win in the finals of the Ashe Gold Cup in Bengaluru against Royal Air Force, which included England’s cricket and football international Denis Compton. They also managed to challenge the well established Bengal football teams of that time as they beat Mohun Bagan in the finals of the 1950 Durand Cup.
  • Under his impeccable coaching, the HCP team won 5 consecutive Rovers Cups, which remains a record to this day. The team also managed to reach the 5 Durand Cup finals with the team; winning 3 of them.
  • In 1950, he became the coach of the Indian National football team along with managing the Hyderabad City Police team as well.
  • After taking over as Indian coach, he revamped the Indian team by eliminating the 1948 Olympics team. He was never hesitant in dropping the non-performing stars and backing up the youngsters.
  • His first major tournament as India’s coach came at home when India hosted the 1951 Asian Games. A lot was expected from his team, and he delivered, as India went to win the gold medal by beating the mighty Iran team in the finals by 1-0.
  • In 1952, the Indian football team reached Finland to take part in the Olympic Games. Then, came the testing time for him; as India faced a huge defeat from Yugoslavia by 10-1. India’s poor performance at such high-level was mainly because many Indian players played without boots. When India came back, the AIFF announced that players have to wear boots while playing for India.
  • It was said that after India’s humiliating performance at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, the high-ranking AIFF official interfered and stopped Rahim from picking the team of his choice. Syed Abdul Rahim - Indian Football Team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
  • After an embarrassing Olympic exit, he took inspiration from Hungary’s aggressive 4-2-4 formation and changed the formation of the state team from centre-half to ‘W-formation’. Initially, this formation was criticised, but Rahim had a vision behind it. His new formation proved to be the right move when India beat their arch-rivals Pakistan in the Quadrangular Tournament at Dhaka in 1952.
  • At the 1954 Asian Games, when India was knocked out in the group stage, Rahim’s motivational skills came to rescue as he very well knew how to lift the spirits of a losing side with his motivational speeches. As a result, India landed Down Under with great confidence to compete in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where they faced some of the best teams in the world. India stunned everyone as they beat the host Australia in the quarters and managed to finish 4th in the event. Syed Abdul Rahim - Indian Football Team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
  • Four years later, at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Indian team was placed in the group of death with Hungary, France, and Peru. They lost to both Hungary and Peru by 2-1, and 3-1 respectively, but managed to get a draw with France by 1-1. Syed Abdul Rahim - Indian Football Team at the 1960 Rome Olympics
  • In domestic front, the HPC managed to win all the 12 national tournaments held in the years 1950, 1957, and 1959.
  • Hyderabad and Andhra were considered as separate bodies by the AIFF till 1958. But, in 1959, these two bodies were merged to Andhra Pradesh Football Association, and Rahim was instrumental in letting it happen.
  • India’s fighting spirit at 1960 Rome Olympics, made them one of the favourites to win the gold at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. India didn’t get a good start to the tournament; as they lost to South Korea by 2-1, but India managed to fight back with a 2-0 win over Japan in the very next game. In the final group game, India beat Thailand by 4-1 and progressed to the next stage.
  • India’s road to win the gold medal at the 1962 Asian Games was full of hurdles; as due to different global political reasons, most of the Indian athletes flew back and the Indian football team found itself in crisis. Indian team was sleepless a night before the big finals. On the other side, the ever-spirited Rahim, who had been diagnosed with cancer, took his team to the streets of Jakarta and said, “Kal aap logon se mujhe ek tohfa chahiye….kal aap sona jitlo,”which means, “I want a gift from you tomorrow….the gold medal.” His words of motivation lifted the spirits of the struggling Indian team and surprised the South Korean team in the finals by playing the injured Jarnail Singh as a striker who used to play as a centre-forward in his college days. Rahim’s risk paid off when Jarnail put India 2-0 ahead before halftime. The Indian defense stood like a wall and conceded only one goal in the second half. Thus, India went on to create history by winning the Asian Games gold by 2-1, the pinnacle of Indian football. Syed Abdul Rahim - 1962 Asian Games football gold medal winning team India
  • He retired as the principal of a high school in Hyderabad and had been associated with the game till his untimely death due to cancer on 11 June 1963.
  • Thanks to his coaching, the year 1945 to 1965 are considered as the “Golden Era of Hyderabad Football” and the year 1951 and 1962 was considered as the “Golden Era of Indian Football.”
  • Though he never got his due, a trophy in the I-League, and the award ‘Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award’ has been named after him.
  • Ajay Devgn is set to play Syed Abdul Rahim in the sports biopic which is to be produced by Boney Kapoor and directed by ad film director Amit Sharma.