Image Credits: Moizuddin Mohammed
Sometimes, we come across a personality that is so giving, honest and morally upright that it inspires us. One such name doing stellar work is Moizuddin Mohammed in Hyderabad. The 38-year-old has had to fight his way back from some major setbacks in his footballing career. He learnt the game the hard way – without proper guidance and being a ball boy but he managed to make the most of his circumstances. He could have studied in UK, but his love for the beautiful game was so strong, that he not only gave the UK opportunity a miss, he decided to take the football to the rural streets of Hyderabad.
Grassroots football is about giving every child an opportunity to learn and develop. Football is for everyone, whatever their age, background, gender, religion or ethinicity. With that in mind, Moizuddin started Mars Football Foundation in 2015 with an aim to inspire hope in and open doors of opportunities for the rural kids to achieve their football dreams.
In this interview, we get to know more the man, his vision for Mars Football Foundation and his passion for the development of grassroots football in Telangana state.
When did you realise you had a talent for coaching and who or what influenced your decision to become a coach and do you have any role models who continue to inspire you?
I would say that the one thing that I never had is a good football coach. It was an obvious decision, I made when I was in my early 20's and ever since I have started to develop myself as a coach and to some sporting culture to the community. And my role model coach is Steve Cooper, who won the World Cup with England Under-17's and current coach of Championship side Swansea City FC.
So, what lead you to the thought of MFF and how did it start?
In 2015, I started MFF. I had this vision of providing basic sports education for grassroots (kids from 6-12 years) so, if I could teach them, then tomorrow's football will be better than today. I started with an intention to provide a quality training to kids who are intrigued in learning football, I took up a licensing course in football and got a license at the age of 35 from AIFF. It made plans to promote and develop football coaching. To achieve it, I learnt modern techniques of football training in which each kid has a ball unlike traditional method where the entire team of 20 kids would be trained with a single ball. Being a newly formed state, Telangana makes a good platform to start football coaching from grass-root level and develop it. Keeping this in mind, I selected three districts (Asifabad, Adilabad and Nirmal) to implement the plan.
It made plans to promote and develop football coaching. To achieve it, I learnt modern techniques of football training in which each kid has a ball unlike traditional method where the entire team of 20 kids would be trained with a single ball. Being a newly formed state, Telangana makes a good platform to start football coaching from grass-root level and develop it. Keeping this in mind, I selected three districts (Asifabad, Adilabad and Nirmal) to implement the plan.
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This is a simple choice and I believe India will become one of the powerful football nations in the coming decades. If India's dream has to come true then we have to concentrate on the grassroots. So, I started with the local community. I believe that sports can be a medium for social development. I feel satisfied by serving the rural youth. MFF aims to promote football at the grassroots level by making the sport way of all-around development for the kids. We believe that we can make international impact if we provide scientific and systematic coaching to kid from early age. We believe that we can have more talent if the playing pool is larger.
What, in your opinion, makes football a great sport for children?
Unlike other sports, football is very simple and easy to play. It has lot of fun. The beautiful thing about football is that you can play in almost any condition and anywhere with just a ball.
What are the special features of MFF that makes it stand out from other academies/NGO’s?
I am a licensed coach. So, I know about the professional standards of the game. As I continue to learn about the game. I communicate a lot about my community, Strong Grassroots to various coaches and organisation around the globe and there are times when they stepped in to help us.
What kind of a response have you got from students and parents?
The kids are having a lot of fun and they enjoy each session. they learn every day and the parents are satisfied that the kids are learning.
What is your take on the youth developments and grassroots foundation in Mars Football Foundation?
Grassroots are very important if India needs to show the other nations that It has football culture and talent then it is mandatory that we work at the grassroots foundation.
What factors do you feel are vital in helping players make the jump from state to national side?
Consistency and a career path – it’s easier to coach a kid and make him perform but when they are in the late teens, it’s quite difficult for a coach to convince the parent and the kid to not to quit football and there is no proper platform for the players. State Football Associations should work at Youth Football Development. I believe people like me are working for that in our country.
What would you say has been your greatest success to date?
Kids trained under me played School Games Football Nationals in U-15 and U-17 categories. Organizing British Council - Premier skills coach education program in Mancherial District in Under Coach the Coaches Program. We have trained over 24 underprivileged coaches. There are not enough grassroots, youth coaches. when I say, coaches it is licensed with the right attitude and passion for coaching. We lack coaches, infrastructure and a platform for consistent playing time throughout the year.
What’s your focus now to take MFF to the next level and what sort of help you need to make it possible?
I would like to bring in experienced Instructors to educate people who are interested in taking up a coaching role. And train 100 Grassroots coaches every 6 months. I am currently working on a documentary film to show case my work to global audience in order to raise funds for running of the NGO. 220.
If people want to contact you, how can they get in touch?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Whatsapp: +918790046220