Muscat: Former Oman hockey coach and former India women's coach S. A. S Naqvi passed away on Wednesday morning in Muscat. He was 90.
A popular and respected sports figure, he was a mentor to five Indian Olympians including Joaquim Carvalho, Merwyn Fernandes, and many other international players like Mir Ranjan Negi of Chak De India Fame.
Himself a star player for a top Indian side in 60s, Western Railways, Naqvi was a member of the national championship Railways squad. He rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest Indian players and was close to hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
After his playing career was over, he took up coaching in Mumbai forming Bombay Customs side, a team full of talented youngsters with five of them going on to represent India at Olympic Games. He was part of the Indian coaching staff in 1975 and took over as India women's team coach for the 1978 World Cup.
He arrived in the Sultanate of Oman in 1982 ahead of the Sultanate's participation at the Asian Games in New Delhi. He coached Oman at the Asiad and soon after was drafted by Oman Olympic Committee in late 1983 as a technical advisor. He along with the OOC president H E Dr. Hammad Al Ghafri set up the OOC and for the next 18 years Naqvi played a key role in the growth of the Olympic Movement in Oman.
Late Mr. Naqvi represented Oman at five Olympic Games and five Asian Games before retiring in 2002. His passion for collecting memorabilia and archiving history was amazing and that led him to set up a Sports Treasure House, popularly known as Naqvisaab Museum in Ruwi. With newspaper cuttings from the early 50s to documents and awards the personal collection has been admired by one and all. Playing a leading role in strengthening the India-Oman sporting relations, he not only facilitated top players to come and play in local competitions but also arranged visits of top teams and also got coaches to Oman.
For his role in strengthening Indo-Oman sporting ties he was awarded the prestigious Indo-Oman Friendship Award, which was instituted by Minsitry of Culture, Sports and Youth and Indian Embassy in Oman.
Another major role he played in promoting hockey, which he was totally in love till the end was the organisation of Dhyan Chand Hockey tournament and hockey championships on India's Republic and Independence Days. Indian schools in Oman along with cooperation from Oman Hockey Association provided sticks to young players. Leading bosses of Asian Hockey Federation and International Hockey Federation (FIH) praised and felicitated him for his role in hockey development. The sports ministry also honoured him with lifetime achievement awards besides receiving numerous honours from various organisations across India and Oman.
Loved by thousands, Naqvi was quite active on social media during the past few years and was unwell for the past few weeks. He passed away at Royal Hospital on Wednesday.
Tributes poured in from leading sports administrators, hockey officials, clubs representatives and the large Indian community on hearing the passing away of a hockey stalwart.