“He was the most gifted player I have ever come across in my life,” was how Zafar Iqbal described his team-mate and friend Mohammed Shahid, who passed away on Wednesday morning.
Shahid, 57, was recently admitted to a hospital in Gurugram as he was suffering from liver and kidney ailments.
Both Iqbal and Shahid played together at the international level for seven long years. The duo anchored the left flank.
Shahid was born and brought up in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He had a passion for hockey and school days were more about wielding the hockey stick than the pen. At 19, he represented the nation at the junior world cup. His outstanding performance also enabled him to make the grade at the senior level.
People from the world of hockey say that his dazzling stick work flummoxed his opponents and had the capacity to break the most formidable defence.
If on the play field he was most feared, off the field he was a humble and down to earth human being. Despite his outstanding performance in the 80’s the international hockey player, who represented the nation in three Olympics, didn’t complain about his dues.
Perhaps that was why he got departmental promotion quite late.
On Wednesday, sports minister Vijay Goel and the Rio-bound men’s hockey team had paid a visit to ailing player.