‘I wish to take an informed risk’: Anwar Ali Desperate to Continue Football Career Despite Heart Condition
Former Mumbai City, Indian Arrows and FIFA U-17 World Cup team defender Anwar Ali is at crossroads today. He wants to continue playing for he says “football is the only thing I know” but his heart condition has left his future in the hands of All India Football Federation (AIFF). The federation’s medical committee is currently deciding whether or not Anwar should be allowed to play.
Just a year ago, Anwar had signed a lucrative contract with Mumbai City FC and before that, he was a prominent figure in the Indian Arrows team. However, his world turned upside down last year when he was diagnosed with his congenital heart condition — an extremely rare form of the already uncommon Hypercardio Myopathy (HCM). He took off to France for treatment and now that he is back, he wants to play again.
He signed with Kolkata club Mohammedan Sporting to play the I-League second division but he cannot do that until and unless he is given a green signal from the AIFF.
“Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees me the right to earn a livelihood for myself. If I wish to take an informed risk and am ready to monitor my condition with the help of medical experts, then it is ultimately my choice, whether I wish to take the risk of playing football professionally.
“If any club feels that they do not wish to take the risk to play me, they will not sign me, but if I am willing and my club is willing and I am ready to take necessary precautions then I do not see how my right to earn my bread and butter can be taken away from me,” Anwar wrote in a detailed letter running into 57 pages – with documentary evidences and medical reports – to the AIFF on Tuesday, as stated by Times of India.
The news report states that before receiving Anwar’s letter, the medical committee had “verbally” agreed that the youngster should not be allowed to play but they delayed the decision after receiving his letter and audio transcripts of Anwar’s appointment with Dr F. Carre, head of sports medicine at CHU Rennes in France.
Anwar grew up grazing cattle in a small dairy farm – one that his father owns in Adampur, Punjab. He feels if not for football, he would be grazing cattle today as well. “Being a large family and me being the only earning member, it is very difficult for us to make ends meet even when I am earning as a professional footballer,” Anwar further said.
If Anwar takes the field with his heart condition, there is always going to be a risk of a cardiac arrest on field, which may even lead to his death. But Anwar said that AIFF’s ban would be a “a death sentence” anyway.
“If AIFF bans me, I’ll be forced to play in low level tournaments like Khep in Kolkata to make ends meet. There are no medical facilities in these tournaments, so the chances of me dying on the field will be much higher. Your disqualification of me will be a death sentence for me and my family. I beg you to let me play,” said Anwar.
Anwar, who is unhappy with the fact that he has not been given a personal hearing with the medical committee, pointed out how AIFF had not intervened in situation with some footballers in a similar situation in the past like Dipendu Biswas and Anwar Ali Senior’s heart attack on the field while with East Bengal..
“There is more risk of me and my family dying from hunger if my only earning source is taken from me, than there is of me dying from Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) on the field while playing,” Anwar said.