In a nation whose heartbeat is cricket, a man fell in love with football, first saving goals and later entertained the fans with his velvety voice. Meet an international commentator and former football player from Delhi Ghaus Mohammad.
Mohammad did live commentary for football, hockey, boxing and volleyball.
In Football, the sky is limited for him as not only did Subrato and Durand Cup commentary for 25 years, but he also did live commentary in the final of the FIFA World Cup.
Hailing from Delhi, Mohammad is the first such commentator in the country, who did continuous commentary for 25 years in the Subroto and Durand Cups.
The Durand Cup is organized by the Indian Army and the Subroto is organized by the Indian Air Force.
He also played in the Durand Cup from Delhi for a couple of years.
“When I had gone to Guwahati for the Nationals in 1979, after watching me, the legendary athlete Milkha Singh invited me to come to Punjab Sports School, Jalandhar (a school run by Milkha Singh). But my mother did not agree to it,” the international commentator told eNewsroom.
Mohammed played football and wrote sports articles as a freelancer. One day sports producer RBN Mathur told him about the vacancy of a commentator on All India Radio. He could not speak in the audition for the first time. However, the duty officer of Akashvani Ravi Dutt Mahato noticed his talent and boosted his morale to try out for the audition again. Mohammed took part in the audition for the second time and cleared it. He has not looked back since then.
“In 1989, my mother was admitted to hospital. I was with her. There was the Durand Cup Final the next day. There was an income tax commissioner BP Ojha, who called me. He said he saw you and you can do commentary without much preparation, so I should do the final. But, I said, my mother is hospitalized, I can’t go. But my mother heard it and forced me to go. The final was between East and Mohun Bagan, the stadium was full. And my commentary was liked by everyone. I got calls from Kolkata too. From then onwards to 2016, I did Durand Final regularly.
In the 2005 Confederations Cup match between Brazil and Argentina, he did commentary in Hindi. In English, Subhash Bhowmik, who had played football from India, used to commentate with him. Later they became very good friends.
Mohammad did live commentary in the final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The commentator, who happens to be a former Delhi goalkeeper, has an eye for the game and perfect diction. When the league match of the FIFA World Cup was happening, then Harsha Bhogle, who is now a big commentator in the cricket world, asked him, who will win the World Cup? Harsha and all the other commentators were shocked to hear that Mohammad had taken the name of Italy. But he also counted the reason, that the Italian players ‘tease’ the players of the opposition team, their ‘defence’ is very good and after scoring the goal, they do not allow the goal to be scored against their team till the end. His words were proved right when Italy teased in-form France player Zinedine Zidane so much that he ‘headbutted’ the Italian player and was sent off the match. Italy became the champion by defeating France.
After that, he commentated from the studio for FIFA in 2010, 2014 and again in 2018.
Mohammad does his commentary in Hindustani- a mixed language of Hindi, Urdu and English.
Apart from football, he also did commentary on hockey, volleyball and boxing.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey, Nehru Hockey and Sanjay Gandhi like national level hockey tournaments.
When boxers Akhil and Vijender won medals in Beijing in 2008, Mohammad was the commentator.
“I have never worked as a commentator on cricket and tennis, which are seen and heard more in India. I used to think that there is nothing much to do about this. “Later my kids told me I should have done it,” Mohammad informed.
He has also been the youngest observer of the All India Football Association twice.
Star News, ABP News, NDTV TV, ESPN and many other channels, he has been a regular. Having done his commentary in many cities and countries in the country and abroad, 61-year-old Mohammad is currently OSD in Telangana Bhavan.
As a commentator, Mohammad got loved by a large number of people he met many big personalities got felicitated, however, never earned enough money to have his own house in a city like Delhi.
Cricket commentators get advertisements in the country, but for football commentators like Mohammad, if he gets a house in the national capital, it would be a major achievement in his life.
Read Ghaus Mohammad’s story in Hindi as well.