PANAJI: India defender Adil Khan has described his journey of being a father, highlighting the sacrifices he has had to go through as a professional sportsperson. On the occasion of #FathersDay, the Goan footballer recounted the times when his wife Khuri Irani, sports anchor, went into labour pains while the tough-tackling Blue Tigers defender was in bio-secure bubble in a hotel room.

“I had to remain in a bio-bubble in Goa for the league, but my wife was in Mumbai when she was pregnant, and she had to manage a lot of things by herself,” the FC Goa defender (on loan from Hyderabad FC) is quoted as saying on “No matter what happens, we have a contract with our clubs, and we have to respect that.”

It was in February,  Adil received a message after the FC Goa-Mumbai City FC match that his wife had gone into labour, and that she was about to have a baby.

“I remember I was so excited and nervous at the same time. On the football pitch, I was just doing my duty, but this was something different,” he recalled. “We both had obviously wanted to be there when it happened, but I couldn’t. I remember I stayed up all night – I called everyone after the match – my parents, my in-laws, my friends. I was in constant touch with my wife and her doctor too. It was quite difficult to be stuck in a room in Goa when your wife is giving birth.”

“There’s always a level of anxiety involved in such situations. She would have been in so much pain – I can’t even imagine it. And with God’s grace, all went well and we were blessed with a baby boy. I can’t describe the feeling. I got on a video call as soon as it was possible, to see my son. I was sad that I couldn’t hold him in my arms, but I was really happy to see him at the same time. Can’t describe the emotion,” he said.

“This was the moment that I thought, I’d make him a number 9, if I can, in the future,” Adil said with a chuckle. “After Chhetri-bhai, I hope he can become a striker and break more records.”

“Those months staying away from my family were difficult, especially when I knew my child was there. My wife was also very understanding during this time,” said Adil, who had an extended season with the Gaurs involved in the AFC Champions League and his national duty.

“Thanks to technology, though, we could at least speak over video calls whenever I was free. I remember when I was younger, my father would also often go abroad, and he’d send letters, and we’d sometimes talk over the phone, but technology has changed all that.”

When he finally got to hold his son for the first time after the 2020-21 Hero ISL, recollects Adil, “It was such a happy moment for me. I had started crying because I finally got to see him for the first time. I’ll remember that moment for as long as I am alive.”

“When you are single, you worry only about yourself, and going around the country or the world, playing football seems fine. But once you become a father, things change. It sometimes becomes difficult to not be around, but we are trying to work our way through it,” explained Adil.

“Times like now, after returning from the National Team camp in the off-season become so precious. I am spending as much time as possible with my son now. I’m playing with him all the time,” he says.


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