Profile: Mohamed Umair

Mohamed Umair came to prominence as a defender but won most of successes as an attacking player. Just like most of the players from atolls, Umair started his basics as a child at his home island of La.Kunahandhoo. His talent was spotted by Victory and National Team legend Lirqam Saeed. Umair moved to Male’ for his education in 2000 and while studying in Male’ he played for Maldives Under 16 and Under 19 national team.

After completing school in 2005, he signed his first contract with Victory in 2006 and that’s where he established himself as a key player in Maldives.

He came to prominence as a defender and he recalls how he was established as a defender while he preferred to playing as an attacker.

“Mohan was my coach at under 16 national team and he noticed I take the goal kicks better than other players, so he installed me as a defender” Umair smiles, recalling how he started playing as a defender.

Umair spent four seasons with Victory from 2006 to 2009 and in his last season he played games as a defender as well as a midfielder. He was nominated for season’s best player award.

Then he spent next three season with three different clubs with different experiences. Played as a defender for VB Sports in 2010 and as a midfielder for Maziya in 2011 and back to Victory in 2012 and played as an attacking midfielder.

Umair was outstanding in 2012, winning both season’s golden boot and best player award.

He made his move to New Radiant in 2013 and ranked that season as his most memorable.

“Definitely 2013 was the best season of my career” he said.

Mohamed Umair (37) played a starring role for Velizar Popov’s New Radiant side in 2013 (Photo: images.mv)

New Radiant won all local tournaments in 2013 with a 100% winning record and reached quarter finals of AFC Cup. Umair was one of the many stars of that New Radiant team. He scored 30 goals in that season becoming only one of the four local players to have scored 30 or more goals in a season.

It was also the year Maldivian football gave a standing ovation to a Bulgarian tactician named Velizar Popov for his record breaking season with New Radiant and Umair rates Popov highly as well.

“Popov is the best coach I have worked with. He motivates players and reads games so well and gets along with everyone so well. His tactics were outstanding” Umair said.

Umair, who has now scored 100 career goals, reveals his toughest opponents as a defender as well as an attacking player.

“As a defender, one player you wish you don’t have to face is obviously Ashfaq. He is physically strong and skillful. And as an attacking player facing defenders Shaafee and Jambe (former national team defender Jameel) was a tough” He added.

Umair has captained Maldives under 23 team in two South Asian Games and 2 Asian Games. He was also part of the squad that won 2008 SAFF Championship.

“That was an incredible experience. I was 19 and didn’t get a chance to play but the experience was memorable”

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