Former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan star Syed Rahim Nabi is back in his hometown to ply his trade in the Indian Super League 2.0. The 29-year-old utility player, who donned the captain's armband at Mumbai City FC last season, will be a part of defending champions Atletico de Kolkata.
A hometown favourite in the city, Nabi is looking forward to playing once again at the Mecca of Indian football. "It feels good to return home, but there will be pressure too, since ATK are the defending champions," the three-time Nehru Cup winner told Star Sports.
"Everybody is putting their hopes on us as we are from Kolkata. The fans here are very supportive. Everyone knows that Kolkata is the Mecca of football," he added.
The defender, who has also plied his trade as a midfielder as well as a forward on several occasions, was snapped up by the defending ISL Champions last May. He is on loan from I-League side Bharat FC.
Nabi became one of the Indian players like Clifford Miranda, Jewel Raja, Sushil Kumar Singh, and Nadong Bhutia, to join ATK for the ISL 2.0.
Looking back to his journey in Indian football over the years, Nabi says that initially in his career, he got a chance to show a lot of goalscoring prowess. "In Tata Football Academy, I played as a striker. Be it the U-16 side or the U-19 side, or the national side. When I graduated from there, and came to East Bengal, coach Subhash Bhowmick changed my position," he says. "From then on, I became an utility player."
With over 50 caps with the senior Indian National football team in his kitty, the 29-year-old says that the best moment of his career came after the Nehru Cup 2012 win against Cameroon. "Thanks to Allah, I became the man of the match in that game," Nabi said.
And all eyes will be now on Nabi, as he dons the ATK shirt for the first time in the familiar Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. "My aim is to play the maximum number of matches with Atletico de Kolkata and become the champion this year too," he added.