World Around Me

Love For a Game of Football

Love for something, gives you tremendous courage to achieve anything, despite all odds. Meet Olider Dsouza.

Oliver had always been an aspiring football player. But fate had other plans for him.  A decade ago while retrieving a football from a makeshift roof, Oliver fell twelve feet down, when the roof collapsed. This freak accident broke his spine leaving him a T-7 paraplegic i.e. no sensory functions from chest down. But this didn’t deter Oliver’s spirits or his love for the game. When he attended a seminar that helped people with spinal injuries, Oliver knew that he just had to get going in life. He began working in a public relations company, took up table tennis, and swimming, even winning the gold medal in the state freestyle 50m swimming championships. At a point, when traffic woes increased on the roads, Oliver was forced to stop using his car and quit his job. It was at this time that he decided to take up the AIFF coaching course.

Even before enrolling for the course, Oliver faced discouragements from a few senior coaches. How was he going to demonstrate the game to the players? That’s when Oliver chanced upon a story where the renowned football team Manchester United hired a wheelchair bound football coach named Sohail Rehman to train them. It was all that he needed to get going. However in the history of AIFF, never had they received an application from a physically challenged individual.  But seeing Oliver’s enthusiasm, the CEO Henry Menezes, sought special approval to let Oliver be a part of it. Rest, as they say, is history now. Oliver not only took up the course seriously but also passed it to earn the coveted title of a football coach.


Football is more about strategy than the game in itself. In Oliver’s words, “If you see the best and successful coaches in history like Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho, they never played at the top level but were still master strategists. They never physically demonstrated to the players, they use their assistants to convey that message.”

“For football, you need a brain, and that is what I want to make use of.”

Despite rejections and discouragements from senior coaches due to his physical inability Oliver has risen against all odds, and pursued his passion. He presently plans to take up grass root coaching, with an aim to eventually coach a professional team in future.

This is a part of my journey exploring 26 lesser known shades of a country called India, with the #AtoZChallenge 2016!!!


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