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Indian soccer legend remembered on his birth anniversary

Indian soccer legend remembered on his birth anniversary

Kolkata, Sep 1 (UNI) Olympian and 1951 Asian Games gold medal-winning football captain Sailen Manna was remembered on Saturday on his birth anniversary

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid tribute to football legend Sailen Manna on his birth anniversary

“Tribute to football legend Sailen Manna on his birth anniversary,” Ms Banerjee posted on her social networking page.

Indian soccer legend Sailendra Nath Manna, popularly known as Sailen Manna born on this day in 1924 started his career with Howrah Union in 1940. His skill and performance were hailed by everyone and it did not take long before a big club came calling.

Mohun Bagan recruited Manna two years later and he continued to wear the green and maroon jersey till his retirement in 1960. He also captained the Mohun Bagan side from 1950-1955.

The former central defender is the only footballer to have captained a big club, Bengal and India in Olympics.

The talented Manna led India to the gold in the inaugural Asian Games in New Delhi and also captained the country in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and the 1954 Manila Asian Games.

Under his captaincy, India emerged champions in the Quadrangular tournament - also featuring Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Pakistan - consecutively in 1952, 1953 and 1954.

Manna's performance as national team skipper drew wholesome praise and the England Football Association named him in its 1953 Yearbook as one of the 10 best captains of the world.

A defender par excellence Manna’s duels with Ahmed Khan of East Bengal is part of folklore.

A local legend and probably the best defender India has produced after Gostho Paul, the Padma Shri’s exploits on the field inspired the likes of Chuni Goswami and PK Banerjee to take football as a career.

Throughout his playing career Manna never played for any other club other than Bagan.

He became the second footballer after Gostho Pal, to be awarded the Padma Shri in 1971.

Among other honours, he was included in the list of the 10 best captains of the world by the English Football Association in 1953.

He was also awarded the ‘Footballer of the Millennium’ by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in 2000.

Indian soccer legend Sailendra Nath Manna, popularly known as Sailen

Manna, died at a private hospital here on February 27, 2012 due to old age complications at the age of 87.

UNI BM AKM

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