Mohammed Abdul Salim
(1904-5 November 1980) was an Indian
footballer from Kolkata
, then part of the British Raj
By the mid-1930s Salim, a winger, was an essential member of Calcutta’s Mohammedan Sporting Club
side, and helped them to claim five successive Calcutta League titles.
After the title win of 1936, Salim was invited to play two friendlies against the Chinese Olympic side. A cousin called Hasheem who lived in England, and was then visiting Calcutta
, witnessed the first match. Having seen Salim’s exceptional display, Hasheem urged Salim to try his hand at European football.
Hasheem was so persuasive that instead of playing in the second Chinese friendly, Salim sailed with him on the City of Cairo for England. After a few days in London, Hasheem took him to Glasgow
and Celtic Park
Salim was surprised to note that all the Celtic players were professionals.However, when asked whether he would be able to compete with them he nodded in approval. Salim’s confidence encouraged Hasheem to speak to Willie Maley
, the Celtic manager.
Hasheem told him: “A great player from India has come by ship. Will you please take a trial of his? But there is a slight problem. Salim plays in bare feet.”
Maley laughed, the idea of a bare-footed amateur from India competing against Scottish professionals was difficult to believe. But Hasheem was persistent and the Celtic manager agreed to give him a trial. Salim was asked to demonstrate his skill before... Read More