Rewind to the time when IM Vijayan was dropped from the squad despite being at his peak

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IM Vijayan is without doubt one of the greatest players in Indian football history, with the striker rising to become one of the few big football stars that came to the fore in the 1990s.

Despite his excellence on the pitch, there was a time in the early 1990s when the 52-year-old was dropped by former national team head coach, Rustam Akramov for no specific reason – a decision which baffled many considering that Vijayan was at his peak.

The striker was excluded from the squad for the Nehru Cup in Kolkata and SAARC Cup in Colombo, but the former head coach eventually had a change of heart after taking charge of a couple of practice games in Kolkata.

“I was included in a selection side to play the pre-Olympic team. Luckily for me, the match was played at the Mohun Bagan ground, which I knew like the back of my hand. For being dropped from the national team, I was upset and very angry. I wanted to show the coach what I was capable of. I think alone I scored four or five goals,” Vijayan said on the exclusion.



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