• LEO BERTOS - EAST BENGAL
  • Md.AKBAR-EX-INDIA

AN INTERVIEW WITH LEO BERTOS - EAST BENGAL

 Leo Bertos of East Bengal Interview

20.08.2014: JAYDIP DASGUPTA : The World Cupper from New Zealand Leonidas Christos Bertos joined East Bengal as a marquee footballers. Bertos played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, had a successful long professional carrier. We talked to Bertos after he reached Kolkata.

QUESTION - 1 :- When did you started to play football ?

BERTOS :- I stated to kick a ball as I started to walk. I was kicking a ball in and around my residence with my grandfather and father, who also encouraged me. I join my first football team at a very young age of 5 years only. There I was trained the basic of football.

QUESTION - 2 :- Did you been train in any football Academy ?

BERTOS :- I was coached by a professional football coach from 7 years till around 15 years of age. Jim Macmullan and was a famous Technical coach in my native city of Wellington. He guided me all along in my young age before I joined to a Football Academy. My first professional academy was when I signed for a club in England at the age of 18.

QUESTION - 3 :-Which is your first football club ?

BERTOS :- I started to play in Miramar Rangers, a club in Wellington New Zealand and then shifted to Wellington Olympic AFC.

QUESTION - 4 :- Which is your first international match and international goal ?

BERTOS :- I played my first International match against Iran at Iran way back in 2004. Though I had played 56 international matches for the senior national team including World Cup , but yet score a goal for the national team.

QUESTION - 5 :- Which matches are your memorable matches ?

BERTOS :- I played some of the important international as well as club matches, but among the memorable matches, I can recall the match against Brazil in 2006 ,when they were world champions. I was so happy to play against my idol Ronaldo. I would like to mention the match, which was a last qualifier vs Bahrain in Wellington in 2009 to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.

QUESTION - 6 :- Do you have any idea about Indian Football ?

BERTOS :- I have been here before for a couple of matches and I have friends who have played in the I league too. I know football is growing in India and there is a lot of potential in this country for Football to be the biggest sport. India has now become a regular participants in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC organized tournaments. I am very happy with East Bengal Club. The Supporters, officials and fans of East people have been really great to me so far.

QUESTION - 7 :- We are interested to know about the youth development of New Zealand and Australia .

BERTOS :- Yes, New Zealand and Australia are investing and planning a lot for youth development and coach development too. This is always an important aspect in the modern football. We are concentrating to build up the future heroes from the Academy. In fact a successful Academy is capable of producing footballers to all the clubs.

QUESTION - 8 :- You have seen a match of East Bengal, How you rate the team ?

BERTOS :- Yes my first match was tonight. It was good to see the team in action. Comfortable win. I think the I league will be a faster game and there is still a few things to work on I guess too.

QUESTION - 9 :- What is your target in India ?

BERTOS :- To play my best football here and hopefully achieve success in East Bengal Club.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH MD. AKBAR - EX-INDIA INTERNATIONAL

 Md. Akbar Interview

OLD INTERVIEW TAKEN ON 24.10.2008 : What happens when great talent and passion for football is wasted.. we end up with interviews like these which seem to do nothing but fan a dieing flame of Hyderabad football. With several such attempts it can only make us feel like it's futile. Nevertheless the stories of our heroes may inspire our future talent to strive to achieve the kind of passion needed for this beautiful game of football.

One cannot fail to notice the disappointment Mohammed Akbar had in his eyes when he reminisces over efforts and glory of Hyderabad footballers and how they are forgotten. Their awe inspiring stories only make us more sad about the current state of Hyderabad football.

The soft demeanor and hint of Kolkata Hindi in his speech could not be hidden from us pakka hyderabadies, he of course smiles shyly when we point out his grammatical inconsistencies and influence of Kolkata in his speech. Being from Hyderabad and from a middle class family we were in for a ride when we heard from him the accomplishments and contributions hyderabadies have made. We would never have thought we have so much to be proud of. They have truly paid their debt to the city only to get nothing in return. This is the human side to the legends from our City..... (24.10.2008) SAMIRA SULTANA - Volunteer Reporter from Hyderabad of www.kolkatafootball.com talked with Ex- Indian International Striker MD. Akbar (Chote Mia)...

KFC : What has your childhood been like?

MD.AKBAR : We were a middle class family. My father worked as a school teacher and loved sports. We are six brothers.Our first brother Mohammed Habeeb was renowned player in Hyderabad and Kolkata. 2 years later my second older brother Mohammed Moin joined Mohammedan Sporting and played with good players such as Mr.Salam. Then after another 2 years gap Mohammed Fareed my third brother also joined football.  Md. Akbar Interview

Then after all bothers followed suit and played football. We used to watch them play matches in Fateh Maidan bare foot or with anklets. So we all turned to football naturally as I also saw how famous they were for their quality football skills. Sadly, no one in Hyderabad recognizes them like that anymore. In junior school I and Habeeb bhai used to play for the same team in school and always won the finals. But when I started High school he left for Kolkata. Thus he became a role model for me. Habeeb Bhai guided me well and encouraged me to play for Hyderabad City Police for pocket money. I played there for 2 years. Since I used to play well I started getting offers from different organizations to come and play for them.

KFC : Did you have sufficient support from your family? Did they not pressure you about your studies?

MD.AKBAR : Well in those days studies were not given as much importance. We were ofcourse encouraged to study better but were not pressured as the children today are. I passed my multipurpose SSC and then followed my brother's footsteps to start a career in football. As in those days it was not less than a religion. People used to flock to the grounds to watch us play. There was great passion for the sport.

KFC : Did the job offers from various Depts of Govt and private sectors serve as motivation to play football?

 Md. Akbar Interview

MD.AKBAR : No, no no the passion for the game was a motivation.We used to think of taking India to an international level, to make successful careers. Had that been a motivation I would have joined the Hyderabad Police in 1968 and would have had a high position too, or in a bank. We chose to go to Kolkata as players there were held in high esteem. They were considered world class players as Bengalis love football. It was a different feel altogether. Bengal to football is like Mecca to Muslims. Everyone aspired to play in Kolkata.

KFC : How did your transition to Team India happen?

MD.AKBAR : In 1969 I got selected for the Jr Indian team. The system earlier was that Olympic selection committee selected players from the Under 19 National team. From there I got selected for the first Indian Team Camp as a substitution player. Though I did not get to play for the Indian Team at the time, I had the best coaching. I was not disappointed that I did not get to play as the 2 months coaching I received there was very valuable. That was the kind of coaching I should have had when I was younger.I was lucky to be playing for Hyderabad City Police with great players like Zulfiqar saab, Yousuf khan saab etc.

KFC : How much of an influence was your Older Brother Habeeb in your career?'

MD.AKBAR : Major! He was a role model for me. His move to Kolkata Inspired me to play better. When I was down with Jaundice and a fractured leg it was their career in Kolkata that kept me motivated despite my sickness and injury. Not to mention the Hakeemi treatment I underwent.

KFC : The brother duo are still renowned and no one seems to have quite matched their symphony on the ground. How does that make u feel?

MD.AKBAR : Great! I don't really know what to think of it as we played because we loved to play. We read each other's moves and practicing and playing together made us anticipate our moves and strategies.

KFC : From the current clubs in India which would you support?

MD.AKBAR : I have not been able to follow the local matches as much as I want to thus can really comment.

KFC : What about international clubs?

MD.AKBAR : Same there. Unable to watch the matches. But I personally I like Thierry Henry.(this alone makes him my best football player in Hyderabad)

KFC : How would you describe the quality if modern day football to earlier times?

MD.AKBAR : Too much is expected out of players these days with a desire to make them all-rounders . I think this greatly reduced the kind of quality one would see in earlier days as attack midfield and defense were specialist in their own areas. Those days were definitely different.

KFC : Have any of your children taken interest in football careers?

MD.AKBAR : No. Since they did not show interest we did not push them. They have turned out successful in academics.

KFC : Your peers have moved on to either coaching or commentary or in some way stayed with football. Have you also done the same post retirement?

MD.AKBAR : I coached Hyderabad Sporting for a year but then ventured into merchandising business.

KFC : What has been your contribution to Hyderabad football?

MD.AKBAR : With the current situation of the association and the legal litigations surrounding it, we have not been able to do much. However we did try and take talented players to Goa to try and get them exposure.

KFC : What is your opinion on the situation in Hyderabad about the association?

MD.AKBAR : It's very sad that the issues are not getting resolved despite our best efforts to get AIFF to intervene constructively. Meanwhile we are aware that a lot of careers are being wasted and canít help but feel sorry for them.

KFC : In your opinion, do Indians have the capacity to match international teams?

MD.AKBAR : Yes. If the child's talent is capitalized when he is young like in Tata FA then it is possible. Proper nutrition and discipline for the game can definitely produce very good players from India aswell. When we played against international teams we realized all that we lacked was the physical strength and stamina to match them. We had great understanding of the skills and tactics needed to beat them. He fondly remembers their 2-0 win against S.Korea and how he was commended by their coach for his efforts.

KFC : Don't you think you could have accomplished more had you continued playing football in Kolkata?

MD.AKBAR : Yes I do think I could have done a lot more with my career but the need of the time was different. I had some other priorities too.

KFC :How would you sum up your football experience?

MD.AKBAR : I got a lot from football. Especially since I played in Kolkata. Had I not played in Kolkata I would not have been able to accomplish as much. I feel great to have been able to live my passion.

KFC : Finally, which would you say are your most memorable goals?

MD.AKBAR : Well all of them as I was the top Scorer in Kolkata for 4 years. But, I would say goal in 13 seconds against East Bengal when playing for Mohun Bagan and the First Half goal against North Korea when playing for East Bengal in 1973.

KFC :By the end of this interview we are only left wondering what more Hyderabad could have achieved, given the opportunity, with such amazing talent that we see every day

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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IFA CFL PREMIER LEAGUE - CHAMPIONSHIP - 2014

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