Marban 'Bawa' Patel: I felt like I am Sachin Tendulkar

Updated: Aug 31, 2019, 08:01 IST | Ronald Chettiar |

Mumbai-based veteran hockey coach Marzban Patel overwhelmed by rousing reception at city airport, a day after being conferred the Dronacharya Award

Marzban 'Bawa' Patel with his Dronacharya Award at Mumbai airport yesterday. Pics/ Sameer Markande
Marzban 'Bawa' Patel with his Dronacharya Award at Mumbai airport yesterday. Pics/ Sameer Markande

Mumbai's veteran hockey coach Marzban Patel, who was conferred the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime) by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind in a glittering ceremony at New Delhi on Thursday, arrived in the city to a rousing reception from his wards.

Patel, 69, fondly known as Bawa, said he felt like Sachin Tendulkar. His wards received him with placards and garlands at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport yesterday.

Unexpected reception

Bawa admitted being overwhelmed: "I was not expecting a reception of this kind. They [boys] took me by surprise. It felt as if Sachin Tendulkar had arrived. The way these boys enthusiastically came to receive me, it shows my hard work has paid off. It was a thrilling experience. Maybe it's for the first time in Mumbai that so many people came to receive a member of the hockey fraternity. People even came and clicked selfies with me. It was an overwhelming experience."

Patel has nurtured a few Olympians during his three-decade career as a coach. He mentored Olympians Adrian D'Souza, half back Viren Rasquinha and other internationals like the Walmiki brothers — Devendra and Yuvraj. He was conferred the award along with Rambir Singh Khokhar (kabaddi) and cricket coach Sanjay Bhardwaj.

Bawa's wards hold 'thank you' placards on his arrival yesterday

Talking about the award, Patel said it was a reward for his hard work. "There can be nothing better than this. This an everlasting reward for my hard work. I've got many awards, but this is something special," Patel told mid-day yesterday. "I was not expecting this award. But maybe I have done something good in my previous life so I got it. I believe there are many deserving people like me, but are not eligible," he added.

Unfinished business

Despite his age and achievements, Patel said he is not finished yet. "I want to continue doing what I have been doing all these years. I want to go on till my body stops working. I have still not achieved everything in life. I have got a few promising boys training under me [at Bombay Republicans Club]. I want to see them fulfil their potential and get settled in life. I want to open a hockey academy in the city, but it's a far-fetched idea. I guess that dream will remain a dream unless a miracle takes place," Patel signed off.

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