Actor Ajay Devgn on Sunday mourned the death of Syed Shahid Hakim, former India footballer and member of the last national team that played in the 1960 Rome Olympics and said Indian football has lost an “important leg”. Hakim ‘saab’, as he was popularly known, died on Sunday at a hospital in Gulbarga aged 82. In his upcoming sports drama “Maidaan”, Devgan plays the role of Hakim’s father, Syed Abdul Rahim, who served as a coach and manager of the Indian football team from 1950 until his death in 1963.
“RIP SS Hakim Saab. I learnt a lot about you while researching for my role as your father, Football coaching Legend SA Rahim in ‘Maidaan’. Today Indian Football loses an important leg,” tweeted Devgn.
In his more than five-decade association with Indian football, Hakim, a Dronacharya Awardee, has also been an assistant coach to late PK Banerjee during the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi and also independently has been in charge of the national team during a tournament in Merdeka.
At the domestic level, his finest hour as coach came when he guided Mahindra & Mahindra (now Mahindra United) to the Durand Cup title in 1988, beating a formidable East Bengal team.
He has also coached Salgaocar and his last serious coaching assignment was with Bengal Mumbai FC in 2004-05. He has been a FIFA badge holder international referee having officiated in Asian Club Cup games and was also conferred with the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award.
A former Squadron Leader of the Indian Air Force, Hakim was also a Regional Director of Sports Authority of India and his last assignment was as Project Director in charge of scouting before the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
In his playing days, he was a central midfielder but would always rue the fact that he didn’t get any playing time during the 1960 Rome Olympics where the coach of the team was incidentally his own father.