'I feel extremely lucky to be playing again' - Mohun Bagan's Syed Rahim Nabi

The midfielder was injured in the first leg of the Kolkata Derby and has made a successful recovery from the same.....
December 9, 2012 was a significant day in the history of Indian football. The Kolkata Derby of the I-League 2012-13 season was abandoned under extremely controversial circumstances as the Salt Lake Stadium descended into anarchy. Mohun Bagan's Syed Rahim Nabi was one who will never forget that day as he was struck by a missile thrown from the crowd. The midfielder had to be rushed to the hospital and required corrective surgery on a fractured jaw.

Today the 27-year old is back amongst the scheme of things at club and international level. Although, he did not have the most memorable return to the international stage when India lost 2-4 to Palestine in a friendly at Kochi, Nabi will be looking to make an impact in the second leg of the Kolkata Derby on February 9, 2013.

"Looking back on that fateful day, I can only say that I feel extremely lucky to be playing again. That is the biggest gift for me. I thank God for that. After that injury, I had never thought that I would be back on the field so quickly," said the midfielder to The Times of India.

Nabi like all of the Mohun Bagan and East Bengal players know how it feels like to play in a match of the intensity of the Kolkata Derby. "A derby is always a special match and it is a vital match for us considering the situation we are in," said Nabi highlighting Mohun Bagan's return to the I-League after initially being banned till 2015 for their actions during the first Derby.

The ban upon the club was rescinded keeping in mind the future of Indian football and was replaced with a hefty fine and points deduction ensuring that the Mariners would have to start from scratch. So far they have picked up 5 points from a possible 12 which doesn't make good reading for a Mohun Bagan fan.

Nabi had to undergo a surgery after his injury and this raised questions whether he would be able to head the ball as effectively as before. However all such doubts were dispelled as the marauding full-back scored during the Palestine friendly, quite ironically from a header.

"I do not know what people had been thinking, but I proved that I am not scared to go for headers," said a determined Nabi.

Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa was all praise for his versatile player stating that an injury can sometimes affect a player's mindset, but observed that Nabi was completely all right. Meanwhile, Nabi sent out a message to all the fans to ensure no untoward incidents during the match.

"Come and enjoy the game, but please refrain from doing anything that may disrupt the proceedings or harm anyone," appealed the Mohun Bagan midfielder.

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