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The Rising Star: Anwar Ali and the Evolution of Indian Football

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

The Indian CB who is a regular starter for the Indian National team only at 22 has signed on loan to his dream club Mohun Bagan. The historic club fans are too excited as Anwar Ali can easily be named a "Revolutionary in Indian defense". In Indian football's history, he is probably the first centre-back who is very comfortable on the ball and can play good progressive, diagonal passes forward. His long balls are often meaningful unlike what Indian fans have been used to watching for decades.

Anwar Ali played in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup squad of India, of which India was the host. In 2018 he scored against Argentina's U-20 side which was led by 2022 World Cup winner coach Lionel Scaloni in the COTIF Cup.

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He was in great demand in the Indian market and signed for Mumbai City FC. But in 2019, AIFF banned him from playing football after he was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a rare weak heart disease.

In 2020 there emerged some hope as an FA-certified cardiologist granted him permission to play after he with Ranjit Bajaj applied in the court.

His teammates from the U-17 World Cup batch had already signed for top ISL clubs by then but he was left behind due to some poor decisions by the bureaucratic mess of AIFF. But he didn't lose hope and finally, in 2021 he was given the clearance to play. In 2021 he was playing in a state league as he had to reinvent his career again but he is so good that by 2023 he is the National team's 1st choice center-back. Isn't this amazing?

For Mohun Bagan, Anwar Ali has been an excellent addition this season and will help the Mariners in their quest for the Durand Cup, AFC Cup, ISL, and Federation Cup. The building up from the back in Juan Ferrando's system in Mohun Bagan would be solved greatly.

For the National team also he has been phenomenal as head coach Igor Stimac has been able to implement his style of gameplay because of Anwar Ali who initiates the buildup every time from the backline. His presence has truly revolutionized Indian football which was very visible in the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF championship.

The gameplay of the Indian National team is evolving from a pragmatic style to a modern attractive one. The new gameplay has also been able to attract more fans at the stands and the 26K people chanting "Vande Mataram" in Shree Kanteerva is the proof.


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