Consistent Domestic Performances Propels Mohammed Raheel into National Fold

Mohammed Raheel Mouseen has been one of the consistent performers in the domestic circuit for Karnataka, and his inclusion in India’s 22-member squad for the FIH Pro League double-headers against New Zealand and Spain should not come as a ‘surprise’ to those who follow Indian hockey. The 25-year-old Bengaluru lad has been knocking on the selectors’ door for the past few years – the midfielder-cum-forward has been part of the senior national camp since January 2022 after catapulting himself into national attention with rock-solid performances at the 2021 Senior Men’s Nationals.

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Barring SV Sunil, who had featured in the 2022 Asia Cup in Jakarta, Karnataka has hardly witnessed any national representation over the last many years. Drag-flicker Vokkaliga Raghunath was the other Karnataka player to play for India until he called time on his international career after the 2016 Rio Olympics. This just explains the significance of Raheel’s national call-up and how it can serve as a boost to Karnataka hockey.

Hockey runs in Raheels’s blood – his father Md. Naseeruddin and elder brother Md. Naeemuddin were former hockey players. He started playing hockey at the age of 12 for his school and subsequently honed his hockey skills at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Benglauru. A huge Arjun Halappa fan, Raheel has captained the Karnataka side and represented the Air India hockey team for four years until he landed a job at CAG last year.

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Former Indian player and Karnataka men’s hockey team coach VS Vinaya is elated to see his ward break into the 22-member squad. “Raheel has been around in the national mix for last two years and his domestic performances speak for itself. At the 36th National Games, he played his part in Karnataka winning the crown,” he says.

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Vinaya elaborates on how he picked Raheel in the Air India team a few years back. “As part of the talent-scouting exercise I picked him and played him as a midfielder as well as a striker in the Air India team and there has been no looking back. He is a hard-working lad and would go places.”

The Indian midfield is replete with cut-throat competition and Raheel would have to be at his best to cement his berth in the national side. “There is competition and if he can perform, you never know what’s in store for him,” says VS Vinaya who mapped out Karnataka’s triumph in the 36th National Games as Karnataka coach.

It is pertinent to mention that Raheel was earlier this year included in the FIH 5s Tourney in Lausanne, where he was adjudged the Player of the Tournament and top goal-scorer.