When India beat Myanmar in Yangon, a crucial 1-0 victory in late March, Nicos Zeniou was part of the revelry as Stephen Constantine’s men broke a 64-year jinx against the South-East Asian country.
‘Sitting in the dressing room afterwards watching everyone celebrate I could not help feel an immense sense of satisfaction knowing that I was part of a historic moment for Indian football,’ he said.
Now, who is Zeniou you may ask. He is a private physiotherapist based in Limassol, Cyprus, who has come on board to help treat and prevent injuries as India attempts to qualify for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
Zenious is an old friend of Constantine, who he had met 20 years ago while he was working as the lead physiotherapist for Cyprus’s national football team.
‘I usually get a visit from him at my clinic when he is in Cyprus, but was shocked when he asked me to join him for three weeks for the start of the Asian Cup qualifiers,’ he said.
‘The idea was that more than 30 national team players were being called to the national team camp and I was to lend my support and experience and assist the current medical team.’
Zeniou also travelled with the team as they played matches in India, Cambodia and Myanmar.
His played the role of mentor/consultant as he worked alongside the existing medical team: team doctor, local physiotherapist George Gigy; sports scientist Danny Deigan, rehab specialist Nicholas De-long among others.
‘Besides the normal sport physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, and manual therapy I was also able to offer acupuncture treatment,’ he told Frontline.
‘And with two games coming within a week of each other it was important for us to make sure we were taking preventive measures as well.’
Part of history
After spending a week at the national camp in India, he was part of the support staff as the team beat Cambodia 3-2 in a friendly.
Zeniou then travelled to Yangon, in Myanmar, for the squad’s first qualifier game as India beat Myanmar 1-0.
The team is currently playing in the third qualifier round of the Asian AFC Cup, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates in January 2019. (Sportstar Live)