New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Sunday condoled the demise of former India captain Babu Mani and said that he will always be remembered for his exploits on the football pitch.
Mani breathed his last on Saturday. He was 59.
Known as one of the skillful forwards of his time, Mani made his International debut at the 1984 Nehru Cup in Kolkata, against the famous Argentina side that went on to win the World Cup two years later.
He went on to represent India in 55 international matches, and was a part of the first Indian squad that qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 1984. The forward later went on to play the tournament proper as well, in Singapore.
While the 1984 Asian Cup was the highlight of his international career, Mani is also a two-time SAF Games gold medallist (1985 and 1987).
“I am extremely sad to hear that Babu Mani, who was one of India’s best footballers of his time, is no more. We will always remember him through his contribution to Indian Football. My thoughts go out to his family in this difficult hour,” said AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey in his condolence.
Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Secretary General, AIFF, said, “Mr Babu Mani will always be remembered through his exploits on the football pitch. He was an exceptional footballer, and had inspired many youngsters. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
On the domestic front, Mani was a two-time Santosh Trophy winner, having lifted the title with Bengal in 1986 and 1988.
He had also played and won major trophies for all three major clubs in Kolkata — Mohammedan Sporting (Federation Cup 1983, etc.), Mohun Bagan (CFL 1984, 1986, 1992, IFA Shield 1987, Durand Cup 1984, 1985, 1986, Rovers Cup 1985, 1992, Federation Cup 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, etc.), and East Bengal (CFL 1991, IFA Shield 1990, 1991, Durand Cup 1990, 1991, Rovers Cup 1990).