The Lion of Mumbai - Djelaludin Sharityar

Wednesday, 15 March 2017
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Mumbai FC

Our experienced defender turns 34 today, we present you the life and times of Djelaludin Sharityar.

Aayushman Narayan, Mumbai FC Media (Sportz Dose)

In January of 1990, when Djelaludin was seven years old, he left his native Afghanistan, escaping a civil war to migrate to Germany. If there is a flag-bearer for exhibiting passion for the beautiful game, there is a good chance it’d be someone from Afghanistan. War-ravaged and restless, football takes the centre-stage for a duration of ninety minutes on match day.

Its absurd to compare Mumbai, where Djelaludin plays till the end of the I-League season, to his home or adopted country, and on the occasion of his birthday, we don’t even want to. A player who’s capable of playing anywhere across the defence, his best position is in the heart of the defence. His first foray into football was FC Öhningen on Lake Constance. The talent of the young footballer was recognized early and led him in the B-Junior at the age of 15 for three seasons at VfL Wolfsburg.

As any proud national would, Djelaludin wears the Afghanistan colours and crest, his chest puffed out during each sojourn of the national team.  Due to the unrest at home, Afghanistan play their national matches at a neutral venue such as Iran for security reasons.  Thousands of Afghan fans nonetheless made it to the stadium, cheering their team on.

"We Afghans love football," Sharityar said. "We are fanatics about football. Football is growing at a rapid pace these years. The local league is developing and many of us have become stars. We are recognized on streets and stopped for pictures. We are invited to shows and interviews on TV. Of course, that said, only peace can ensure the game's smooth development."

 Having continued to hone his skills with clubs in Germany, Cyprus and Bahrain, he was recruited into the national team in 2007. Now established as skipper, and with 48 international appearances behind him, Djelaludin is hoping to help restore stability and peace in Afghanistan through football.

He said: "What's amazing is that we can put a smile back on the faces of our people by our performances on the pitch. Football brings people together. It brings hope. It brings joy. We can help educate the young generation through football. We can distance them from radicalism."

Having turned 34 today, there’s no doubt that the international break comes at a timely moment not only for him, but for the senior team in general, though how the time is used constructively remains to be seen. A classy player that he is, brandishing his long mane of hair resembling a furious Lion, Djelaludin is vital for the final four games of the I-League, all of them home ones at the Cooperage.

Happy Birthday Toto, may you have a great one.