Fazal Shaikh – An inspiring story of Mumbai football’s very own ‘Chacha’

Born on 27th January 1957 at Cochin, Kerala, Fazal Shaikh is currently the oldest player to play in MDFA (Mumbai District Football Association) at the age of 59. He is currently displaying his football abilities with Boxer Football Academy in the Second Division of MDFA. The majority of the football faithful in Mumbai know Fazal Shaikh as ‘Football Chacha’ for his supreme longevity as he still acquires the skills to run down from the wings to create havoc in opposition’s defence line.

One would be amazed to see his fitness. He has been inspirational for hundreds of young football players in Mumbai, and his legacy has already been in the history books of Mumbai football.

As Football being a poor man’s game, Fazal Shaikh, Academy Officer at Dias United Sports Club, lives in a slum at Antophill, Wadala. Probably Fazal Shaikh’s most memorable moment came when in 1979 he played against the god of football, Brazilian legend Pele, in a friendly game at Parade ground near Portugal church, Kerala. Fazal was just 15 years old at that time. His dream had come true.

‘Chacha’ started playing football for Thirumala Devasum High School in Cochin, Kerala. That’s when he realise about his passion and determination towards football. He went on to represent State three times for Cochin, Kerala.

Fazal Shaikh professionally turned footballer in 1979 when he played for Bajpa Airport, a club based in Mangalore. Just before representing Bajpa Airport, he had also played for State Bank of India (SBI) in ‘A’ Division League, Kerala in the year 1976.

Two years after playing for Bajpa Airport, in 1981 he settled in Mumbai and went on to play for many clubs over the years.

34 years after turning professional footballer, ‘Chacha’ formed a Football Academy in Mumbai which is known as ‘Boxer Football Academy’ in the year 2013. Recently they have collaborated with Dias United Sports Club (run by Cajetan Dias), which has been affiliated and working with Maharashtra State Government Sports Events & Various Recognized Sports Association.o promote local football talent

Chacha’s aim is to promote local football talent and one of the reasons for collaborating with Dias United Sports Club is because Fazal Shaikh has keen interest to work for the development of football without seeking any monetary benefits.

A tournament will be organised by Dias United Sports Club alongside Boxer Football Academy to select the emerging talents who might get a chance to represent the nation in the F5WC (Five-a-side World Cup).

“It’s an opportunity that I didn’t get in my childhood days, being a part of such a football tournament is a proud and honour to work for the development of football in India,” Fazal Shaikh on F5WC.