Abdul Rahim (17 August 1909 – 11 June 1963), also known as Rahim Saab, 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. 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
Rahim was born on 17 August 1909 in Hyderabad, India. His career started as a coach and secretary of Hyderabad City Police from 1943 until 1963. Later he was associated with the national team. 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. 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. He was the inventor of modern Indian football. After he died, there was steady decline in the fortunes of the Indian football team.
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.