Aishath Ihusana or Sana, as most of her friends call her, is a familiar face for many football fans. She is a popular face in the crowd in recent high profiled football matches, be it club or national team. She enjoys watching the game, but she is not familiar with many of rules of the game. But what she is familiar than any of us is what a top footballer’s life is like. She is into her 15th year as the wife of Maldives number one goal keeper Imran Mohamed. Many believes she is one person who deserves a lot of credit for Imran’s on and off the field success. The mother of two kids played an extraordinary game to ensure her husband become the player and person he is today
So we started this exclusive interview with Sana with the kind of question she must be expecting. When did you meet Imran?
“We met in 2001, he came to Male’ in 1999 to play football and he was staying at National Stadium Accommodation Block, which is just in front of our house. I see him everyday and I know he is a footballer but have no idea about his position” Sana giggles, as she continues to remember the good old days.
“He was playing for Victory back then and was not as famous as he is today. We dated for more than a year and half and decided to marry. I still remember that day. It was the same day Victory won President’s Cup” she recalls one of the most important days of her life.
It would be a hard job for a wife to support one specific club when her professional player husband, like most, have to transfer to different clubs.
“There is no specific team I support. I always support the team Imran plays, but everyone will be very happy when he plays for New Radiant. Even he is happier when he plays for New Radiant”
But what makes New Radiant more special to him and his family?
“We are all more passionate about games when he plays for New Radiant. New Radiant has a big crowd of fans and everyone shows such love towards Imran. Imran always enjoys playing for New Radiant and he has a special place in his heart for New Radiant. Long back, he once told me that he will retire from football as a New Radiant player”
Different players chose different ways to prepare themselves for an important game. Imran too follows a routine to prepare for the match.
“The day before the match, he sleeps a lot. He will take his meal on time, he does a lot of homework. He will prepare match kits by himself and all that will be done one day before the game” She said.
Sana has seen her husband returns to home as a winner and also as someone who lost a hard fought battle but she always give time and space required for him.
“If he lost the game, he will return very silent and need some time to get himself back to normal. But if he wins the game we all celebrate, the kids will be very excited”
Imran has recently announced his retirement from national team but many still hope and requests him to reconsider that decision.
“No, he will not reconsider that decision. He spoke to a lot of people he trusts and gets advice before making the decision. That was the most difficult decision of his life, he felt he needs to step aside to give young keepers the opportunity”
Imran has gone through some serious injuries during his glittering career and there were times many believed has ended his career, but everytime he came back stronger than ever.
“He is very committed and he will do anything to recover from injuries. He will never miss a physiotherapy session, take medicines on time and go for swimming and will do the rehabilitation. I have seen him going through so much pain and once I have even advised him to quit football. But he is strong, he still believes he can play another four years and after that he plans to become a goal keeper coach”
Travelling is part of a footballer, especially if he represents in international matches. Imran must have missed some key moments of their life.
“Yes, a lot of birthdays, anniversaries, kids school events. He was abroad for a match when I was taken to labour room for our second child. The match was on the same date as my due date and he came back to Male’ right after the match. Straight from Airport he came to hospital. The next match was in four days’ time but the club released him to spend time with us but I told him to go. I never complained”
Despite Imran being one of the greatest footballers of Maldivian history, Sana thinks their kids are not into the game.
“Our daughter is too young yet and our son is not much into football. He is interested in music and we are not forcing him to play football”
Imran is a leader on and off the pitch and that’s one main reason clubs always go for him. It is not surprising to know he apply that leadership skills at home as well.
“But I am the boss at home” she laughs.
“Imran will let me make decisions but whenever I need any advice he will be there. He is a very caring and a lovable husband. He is the best father anyone can get. He will always find time to spend with kids”
We all know how good a player Imran is, he is committed and according to his wife it is his tireless work and dedication that make him the player he is today.
“He never misses a practice, even he is injured he will be there. He is very punctual”
One last question is to find out something the fans are not aware of Imran, guess what? He is an excellent chef.
“He makes fried noodles and fried octopus so good that we all enjoy eating it. He cooks for me and the kids”