The All India Football Federation on Sunday condoled the demise of former India captain Babu Mani and said his exploits will continue to inspire young footballers in the country. Babu Mani breathed his last here on Saturday. He was 59. Known as one of the most skilful forwards of his time, Babu Mani made his international debut at the 1984 Nehru Cup in Kolkata, against Argentina. 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. He later went on to play the tournament proper as well, in Singapore.
While the 1984 Asian Cup was the highlight of his international career, Babu Mani is also a two-time SAF Games gold medallist (1985 and 1987).
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey condoled the death of Babu Mani.
“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,” Chaubey said.
AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran 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, Babu Mani was a two-time Santosh Trophy winner, having lifted the title with Bengal in 1986 and 1988.
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He had also played and won major trophies for all three top clubs in Kolkata – Mohammedan Sporting (Federation Cup 1983), Mohun Bagan (CFL 1984, 1986, 1992, IFA Shield 1987, Durand Cup 1984, 1985, 1986, Rovers Cup 1985, 1992, Federation Cup 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993), and East Bengal (CFL 1991, IFA Shield 1990, 1991, Durand Cup 1990, 1991, Rovers Cup 1990).
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