That day, I was the happiest person

Anwar Ali

Who wouldn’t love to play for a top-tier football club of his country? In any case, Anwar Ali now smiles a lot more than he did before he joined FC Goa.

Anwar’s struggles should be narrated to those who need motivation in their lives. The ball-playing center-back started his career at Minerva Punjab before playing for the India U-17 team at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Anwar is a very exciting prospect. He caught everyone’s eyes with his performances for the Indian U-17 team. We have watched him flourish in the days to come with the Indian Arrows,” exclaims Ravi Puskur, FC Goa’s Director of Football.

Anwar played every minute of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. He was loaned to Indian Arrows for the 2017-18 season before signing with Mumbai City FC.

Life isn’t without obstacles, but what Anwar faced makes his return even more remarkable. Back in 2019, the youngster was diagonised with a rare heart condition Apical Hypercardiomyopathy (HCM). After hearing this from the doctors in Rennes, France, he felt his football career was over.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) prohibited him from playing further. Minerva Punjab’s owner Ranjit Bajaj stepped up to represent Anwar’s case in front of the AIFF medical committee.

It was difficult for me when I came to know about my problem. After AIFF banned me Ranjit Bajaj took care of me,” Anwar told IFTWC.

Anwar Ali
(Image – FC Goa Media)

Meanwhile, while the case was being considered by the AIFF medical committee, Anwar played for Techtro Swadesh United in the Himachal League, Punjab, and Delhi FC later.

He scored four goals in seven matches while playing for Delhi FC in the I-League Qualifiers.

I didn’t had any options, so I played wherever I got the opportunity. The tenure with Delhi FC was very important,” said Anwar.

He caught the eyes of several Indian Super League teams with his quality and perseverance. Offers were sent to acquire this talent as soon as possible.

FC Goa’s style of play best suited Anwar’s game. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the Gaurs signed him on an 18-month loan deal that would be keeping him at the club until 2023.

I don’t know which clubs came in with an offer because Ranjit Bajaj didn’t tell me about the offers as it could have distracted me. He chose FC Goa for me because it’s the club which suits my style.

The day I found out that it’s FC Goa and I needed to join the team, I was the happiest person,” says Anwar.

Anwar joined the team in the first week of November. Considering the transfer window was already closed, January was the only chance to complete the loan-transfer process and add him to the squad.

His debut with FC Goa is set to happen this month after training with the team since November.

Ivan, Dylan, Edu, and all the other foreigners have a lot of experience. Not only the foreigners, I have learned a lot from the whole squad and the staff too,” the 21-year old said.

Taking a look at FC Goa’s defense, Anwar will have to compete against the likes of Aiban, Ali, and Papuia for a place in the starting lineup.

I’m not the only one. I know, if I play well surely more opportunities will come in my way. To get into the lineup everyone has to show why they deserve the spot.”

My first target is to do well in ISL because I am hungry and missing wearing the national team’s jersey. I want to be back there,” Anwar says confidently.

Derrick Pereira, FC Goa’s head coach, also admits that having a young prospect like Anwar Ali bolsters the defense. It is a no-brainer that Anwar will be a standout performer for FC Goa alongside Ivan or Dylan, whomever he partners with.

His addition to the team will give us more options to work on in different formations. He will give us the extra strength we need right now, and now we can focus on other areas. He knows what the club expects from him,” adds Derrick.

The roller coaster ride Anwar went through in the past showcased his persistence. “He’s only 21 years old and has a wonderful future ahead of him. He has the potential to become a difference-maker. In years to come, we hope to see him play a key role here in FC Goa and for Indian Football,” said Ravi Puskur.

In the new year, Anwar embarks on a new journey as countless fans await to see him at his best. For sure, there will be a story to tell the future generations.

‘There was a footballer named Anwar Ali’

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