Kolkata: Former Indian footballer U. Sharaf Ali has been tasked with the all important job of looking after the security of the Brazil national U-17 team in India. The Police Battalion Commandant, who is now part of the Kerala Police force had earlier played for the Police team and had even gone to the extent of representing India in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Beirut in 1994.
“It is a responsibility entrusted to us by our department and it’s our duty to give them best possible security. I like to do this. It’s really good to hang out with the Brazil boys. I can enjoy both work and football at the same time,” said Sharaf who has also represented city giants Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting Club in his career, as quoted by the Times of India.
As a security head, the former defender has to spend most of his time with the Brazil team, who landed in Kolkata on Monday after the first semi – final between England and Brazil match was shifted from Guwahati to the city of joy.
However, it’s not only Sharaf Ali but also three other former footballers who have been tasked to manage the different teams in the World Cup. While Kurikesh Mathew and KT Chacko are in-charge of the security for Niger and Spain respectively, Shyam Sunder is responsible for the security duties of North Korea. Incidentally, Sharaf, Kurikesh and Chacko all three were integral part of the Kerala Police team that won the back-to-back Federation Cup in 1990 and 1991. Shyam Sunder meanwhile, although not part of the same squad has experience of playing the Santosh Trophy.
It comes as a great experience for the footballer turned police officers to witness and see some future stars of the game, play in the World Cup and Sharaf, having already spent some considerate time with the young footballers had a strong message for the Indian talents.
“The level of dedication and determination shown by these footballers is a great lesson for our young talents. They were willing to train on the same day they landed here which only shows their determination,” said a proud Sharaf.