Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki – a multi-talented sports person

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

Hyderabad: Often people are under the impression that a sportsman is good at sports but not at anything else. Sportsmen have strength and stamina but not brains. However, that theory is completely wrong.

There are some talented persons who have the ability to excel at sports as well as in other walks of life. One such man is Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki. As a footballer he represented Andhra Pradesh in the prestigious Santosh trophy, Senior National football championship in 1989-90 at Bangalore and later after moving to Jeddah, he became an Executive Secretary, General Secretary and now at present National Executive Committee Member of the Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN).

His football career began at All Saints School in Hyderabad, Telangana (he was a member of the 1982 batch). He came under the tutelage of some famous names of football in Hyderabad. They include Olympian S.S. Hakim, Yusuf Khan, DMK Afzal, Shabbir Ali (Dhyanchand award winner) and also Saleemullah, Azam Askari, Mahmood Khan (AP Sports Hostel), Ravi Kumar (rural nationals) and Abdul Latif (MCH coach) and Mustafa Khan of Central Excise.

He represented Hyderabad in the First children’s sports festival in Eluru in 1982 and shone by scoring 12 goals including a hattrick against Visakhatanam in Semi Final. He helped Hyderabad to win the trophy that year. Later he also represented Andhra Pradesh in the Rural Nationals in Chittoor in 1985-86 and for the first time Andhra Pradesh won the trophy.

Gazanfar Ali aso enrolled in the Andhra Pradesh sports hostel from 1983 to 86 and took part in the Andhra Pradesh school nationals in 1985. He played for Hyderabad’s best teams like CCOB and Abbas Union in the senior division Rahim league and in B division he represented Noor Khan Bazar and B.K. Sporting. Later he played for the APSRTC team from 1988 to 1992, the last two years as captain of the team.

After he moved to Saudi Arabia, he founded the Hyderabad XI there and from 1992 to 2000 he played in the Saudi Indian football forum tournament for various clubs. On several occasions he had the honor of being the best player.

Mr. Zaki says that successful people certainly have a vision. A clear dream, along with the courage to take action and follow through, dramatically increases your chances of success.

He is an active member of the Indian community and serves the Indian expatriates irrespective of caste, creed, region and religion. He has been instrumental in helping the Indian workers during Nitaqat Program, Covid-19, organized job fairs, distributed clothes for distress workers, deportation of distressed Indian workers and Mortal remains of Indian nationals to India and provided food & refreshment to the runway Indian workers from their sponsors.

Later he founded the Indian Youth Welfare Association football academy in Saudi from 2000 to 2010 and coached more than 200 young players free of cost. He provided essentials for boys from all religious groups and castes. The famous Hyderabad brothers of Md. Habib and Md. Akbar also imparted coaching to the boys when they visited Saudi Arabia on visit.

Many articles have been written about Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki and his work has been well recognised in the media both in India as well as in Saudi Arabia. His trainees and people in football circles hope that his good work will continue.

He says that his journey to reach the post of Executive Secretary, General Secretary and now at present National Executive Committee Member of Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) was a tough and challenging one. It was very tough, hardworking and competitive.

SIBN is a professional organization that groups together entrepreneurs, senior executives and professionals from Saudi Arabia and India. Formally launched on March 13, 2005, SIBN aims to be the nodal point for high-level interaction between the business communities of India and Saudi Arabia. Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed is the Patron of SIBN and is the founder.

“It is very easy to attain a position but it is very difficult to do justice to it. Doing anything for the first time generally entails new challenges. But I really didn’t face any setbacks because of the support from the Commercial section of the Consulate General of India in Jeddah. I had huge support from the Consul General of India, H.E. Mohd. Shaid Alam and I also received good support from the SIBN managing committee and members,” he explained.

On behalf of Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) as a General Secretary, Mr. Zaki signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vibrant Goa Foundation-2019 and with Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI)-2019 which were instrumental in reinforcing the SIBN objectives of strengthening Indo-Saudi business relationship.

According to Gazanfar Ali, if any work is done transparently and with passion, one can get success very easily. The SIBN organization is always ready to assist Saudi businessmen who may wish to do business with India or invest in India. The Consul General of India, H.E. Mohd. Shaid Alam is even considering issuing a 5-year business visa to allow for free movement for Saudi businessmen to India, according to Zaki.

He further explained that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and India has received a special boost after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties.

According to the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Saudi investment in India is also growing. India and Saudi Arabia should increase trade delegation visits between two countries by organizing more trade fairs, seminars and more interactions between both Indian and Saudi Arabian commerce ministries, said Zaki.

Recently Zaki received the Certificate of Appreciation from H.E. Mohd. Shaid Alam, Consul General of India, for his valuable support in sending Oxygen Cylinders to India during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

According to Zaki, being the General Secretary of SIBN, it was a pleasure to receive the honor of outstanding Contribution from H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Patron of SIBN and H.E. Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, Jeddah, K.S.A. & Vice-Patron of SIBN, under the patronage of Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for organizing Trade Events, Seminars, Symposiums, Indian Food Festivals, Incredible India, Make in India, Made in India, India @ 70 states programs, Trade delegations to India more than 30 times and Promoting Business Relations between two countries Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & India, which he has contributed as a honorary service to his country. He felt very happy that his services were recognized.

“My special thanks to H.E. Saud Al Sati, Ambassador to India, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Mr. Ahmad Issa Alduhaim, Saudi Commercial Attaché to India, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for their full cooperation and support to SIBN,” said Zaki.

He also said that the Indian Embassy, Riyadh and Consulate General of India, Jeddah Commercial sections are doing a lot by promoting Saudi-India bilateral trade between two countries especially by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Ambassador, Mr. Mohd. Shaid Alam, Consul General, Miss. Ritu Yadav, Commercial Attache Riyadh, Mrs. Hamna Mariyam Khan, Consul Commercial, Jeddah and Mr. Amjad Shareef Marketing Research Analyst.

India should promote FDI in Saudi Trade shows and Saudi Arabia should promote SAGIA in Indian Trade shows so that in both countries businessmen can benefit from it by investing in each other’s countries. India and Saudi Arabia can organize Indo-Saudi trade Expo in India and in Saudi Arabia so that it can be a common platform for both countries to promote their trade, Zaki concluded.

Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki associated with Abeer Medical Group, Saudi Arabia and he belongs from Late Mir Jamal Ali family, manager Palace Estate, his father late Mir Ahmed Ali, proprietor South India Childrens films, mother Lateef Unnisa, Library, Salar Jung Museum and sister Dr. Anjum Fatima renowned Gynecologist of Jeddah.

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