Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy retirement Mustaq bhai!

I have known Mustaq bhai for three decades now, as a mentee, friend, big brother, colleague. As a youngster it was his gleaming white BMW that made him standout as he made the short trek from Shadwell to the Berner Estate to carry out his youth work. He actually started his volunteering in the community in 1978 - 2 years before West Ham United last won the FA Cup with a rare header from Sir Trevor Brooking. 

I later on became his colleague and vividly remember his first day when he called me to arrange a spot of shadowing. Because I didn't recognise his voice he was becoming increasingly annoyed until he mentioned the Bimmer and it all fell comically into place. 

For four years I played five a side football with Mustaq bhai at Osmani and found him to be a seriously tough opponent and I'm not the only one. No holds barred hard running, tough tackling and a foul temper, he was the archetypal football hard man in the Johnny Dexter mould. He certainly made his mark, usually on the back of opponents legs as they were mercilessly scythes down. 

Best of all were the plethora of post game dad jokes in the shower which were pretty hilariously delivered in his own unique style. 

Mustaq bhai's best qualities are his straightforwardness and his sheer determination. I have witnessed how he has turned disappointment on its head, to rise, retrain, rebrand and come back stronger. I've greatly admired his get up and go and learnt so much from his spirit and desire to benefit those around him regardless of who they are and where they're from. 

The likes of Mustaq bhai are rare and I'm pleased to not have to say he's going to be missed because despite his retirement from full time employment it's a given that he's going to be full time on the circuit doing that which he loves the most - Serving the community with great vigour and enthusiasm. 

Best of luck with the future bro - I for one will be watching, learning, whilst keeping a close admiring eye on your exploits. 

Happy retirement!

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