Full Name: Invalappil Mani Vijayan
Born: April 25, 1969, Thrissur, Kerala
Major Teams: Kerala Police, Mohun Bagan AC, JCT Mills, FC Kochin, India
Playing Position: Striker
Scored the fastest ever international goal in 1999 SAF Games
Top scorer in 2003 Afro-Asian Games
Arjuna Award in 2002
Inivalappil Mani Vijayan, usually known as I.M. Vijayan is an Indian Football player, and is known as one of the best Football players in the nation at present. He is known to be one of the most dodging defenders in the history of Indian Football, and also one of the highest paid Football stars of the nation.
Early Life & Domestic Career
Vijayan was born on 25th of April 1969 at Thrissur, Kerala. He began his life in a gravely poor environment, and had to sell soda bottles in the Thrissur Municipal Stadium for helping his family. He had a passion for the game of Football, and somehow caught the eye of the then DGP of Kerala, M.K. Joseph who got him selected for the Kerala Police at the age of 17 years. Vijayan delivered brilliant performance for Kerala Police at Quilon Nationals 1987, and was able to impress the national Football fraternity very soon with his impeccable skills and highly aggressive style of playing. He continued to play for Kerala Police until the year 1991, when he switched to Mohun Bagan A.C. He came back to Kerala Police in 1992 and the next year switched again to Mohun Bagan. The very next year in 1994 he joined JCT Mills Fagwara, and stayed with them for 3 years till 1997, when he left JCT to join FC Cochin. After spending a one year tenure with the club, he again moved to Mohun Bagan in 1998 and came back to FC Cochin in 1999.
Vijayan left FC Cochin in 2001 and joined East Bengal Club, which he left in 2002 to join JCT Mills Phagwara once again. After finishing a 2 year stint with the club, he left JCT in 2004 and joined Churchill Brothers SC. He left the club after 1 year and moved to East Bengal Club in 2005, which was his last professional Football Club as an active Football player. He left East Bengal Club in the year 2006.
I.M. Vijayan made his debut in International Football in the year 1989 and played in a number of tournaments such as Nehru Cup, Pre-Olympics, Pre-World Cup, SAAF Cup and SAF Games. Vijayan and Baichung Bhutia comprised of one of the deadliest forward lines the Indian Football team had ever seen, and helped the team score various vital goals in the international tournaments. He scored fastest ever international goal in a match against Bhutan in the 1999 SAF Games, when he managed to do the same in 12 seconds. After the Afro-Asian Games 2003, Vijayan formally declared his retirement. He was the top scorer in the tournament with 4 goals.
After retirement from active Football, Vijayan concentrated his attention upon his Football School that he had opened in Thrissur. Also, he worked in an award winning film “Santham” that has been directed by Jayraj. He was the first Football player from Kerala to win an Arjuna Award, and has been honored as the Best Footballer of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999.