The deputy commandant of the Rapid Response Force of the Kerala Police department is a familiar face for the state's football aficionados. U Sharaf Ali, who played an integral role in TK Chathunni's successful Kerala Police football team of the early 1990s, is retiring at the end of this month.
As he prepares to bring the curtains down on what has been a commendable career in the Kerala Police department, the former India international defender is part of Kerala's remarkable fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
He told Goal, "I am currently the Commandant of the Rapid Response and Rescue Force at Kottakkal. I also have the additional charge of Kerala Armed Police battalion in Palakkad. The trainees there are on Covid-19 related duty. I'm regularly in contact with their supervising officers. We conduct meetings with those officers and monitor the situation and that if there are any issues."
He may only have a few weeks left for retirement but as always, Sharaf Ali is fully committed to his work which at the moment is the supervision of his juniors.
"We are also sending the indoor and outdoor syllabuses to the Police Academies online. They are attending classes online. They've also been given a schedule to maintain their physical fitness.
"As far as the RRF is concerned, the men are assisting the local police in various parts of Kerala. I'm doing the official supervision."
The world has turned to online mediums of communication during the lockdown period amid the ongoing pandemic. The officer is not only staying active online for official purposes but also is in close contact with his old teammates.
He said, "The movements are restricted during the lockdown. I do things online, send out instructions via Whatsapp etc. The top officials are conducting meetings online. We only go out for essential matters.
"I'm very much in contact with my old teammates from the Kerala Police team. I just spoke to Kurikesh Mathew this morning, IM Vijayan had called me yesterday. A few of them are working with me.
"We have our own Whatsapp group and are constantly in touch. The friendship is still going strong. Sometimes, we talk about those Kerala Police football days, sometimes, when Indian Super League (ISL) is happening, our conversations would be about ISL. If Santosh Trophy is taking place, we talk about that," he signed off.