SA S Naqvi. Picture provided
Muscat: Oman’s former hockey coach and former Indian women’s coach SA S Naqvi died Wednesday morning in Muscat. He was 90 years old.
A popular and respected sports figure, he has mentored five Indian Olympians, including Joaquim Carvalho, Merwyn Fernandes and many other international players like Mir Ranjan Negi of Chak De India Fame.
Himself the star player of a leading Indian team in the 1960s, Western Railways, Naqvi was a member of the National Railway Championship team. He rubbed shoulders with some of India’s greatest players and was close to hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
At the end of his playing career, he began coaching in Mumbai to form the Bombay Customs squad, a squad full of talented youngsters, five of whom represented India at the Olympics. He was part of the Indian coaching team in 1975 and took over as the coach of the Indian women’s team for the 1978 World Cup.
He arrived in the Sultanate of Oman in 1982 before the Sultanate’s participation in the Asian Games in New Delhi. He coached Oman at Asiad and soon after was recruited by the Oman Olympic Committee at the end of 1983 as a technical advisor. Together with the President of the OOC, HE Dr Hammad Al Ghafri, he established the OOC and for the next 18 years, Naqvi played a key role in the growth of the Olympic Movement in Oman.
The late Mr. Naqvi represented Oman at five Olympic Games and five Asian Games before retiring in 2002. His passion for collecting memories and archiving history was incredible and it led him to create a Sports Treasure House, known as the Naqvisaab Museum in Ruwi. From newspaper clippings from the early 1950s to documents and awards, the personal collection has been admired by all. Playing a leading role in strengthening sports relations between India and Oman, he not only brought top players to come and play in local competitions, but also organized tours of top teams and also brought coaches to Oman.
For his role in strengthening Indo-Omani sporting ties, he was awarded the prestigious Indo-Omani Friendship Award, which was instituted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and the Embassy of the India to Oman.
Another major role he played in promoting hockey, which he was totally in love with until the end, was the organization of the Dhyan Chand hockey tournament and hockey championships on the occasion of the days of the Republic and independence of India. Indian schools in Oman and the cooperation of the Oman Hockey Association provided sticks for young players. The main bosses of the Asian Hockey Federation and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) congratulated and congratulated him on his role in the development of hockey. The Ministry of Sports has also awarded him lifetime achievement awards, in addition to receiving numerous honors from various organizations in India and Oman.
Liked by thousands of people, Naqvi was quite active on social media over the past few years and not feeling well over the past few weeks. He died at the Royal Hospital on Wednesday.
Tributes poured in from prominent sports administrators, hockey officials, club representatives and the wider Indian community as the news of the death of a mainstay of hockey was announced.