World Cup fever brings nostalgia in Hyderabad

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> A summer coaching camp is underway in Hyderabad, an attempt to revive a sport in a city that was once the capital of Indian soccer

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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A summer coaching camp is underway in Hyderabad – an attempt to revive a sport in a city that was once the capital of Indian soccer. The Andhra Pradesh football team was the strongest in the country in the 1950s and the 1960s, winning the Durand Cup, Rovers Cup, Nizam Gold Cup among others. Today, the sport is on its deathbed in Hyderabad. "In the Rome Olympics, out of the Indian team of 15 players, there were 12 players from Hyderabad," said S B Madan, Proprietor, Indiana Sports. D Kannan, one of the best players of his time, played in the 1958 Asian Games, where India made it to the semi-finals. Even at 77, his love for the game is evident. "They do not have encouragement here in the state. If they want to go and play in the Kolkata league, they cannot because their standard is not good enough,'' he said. "Players are not taking interest," maintained M V Bhaskar Rao, a former India international. A glimmer of hope was rekindled when Andhra Pradesh's under-21 team won the south zone championship this April but the team ended up losing most of their league matches in the national championship. Unless a magic wand reverses fortunes at the National Games this November, it looks like football in Hyderabad will have to survive on nostalgia alone.

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