New Delhi: The All India Football Federation today condoled the demise of former captain Sailendra Nath Manna, who led the country to the inaugural Asian Games gold medal in 1951.
"It`s sad to hear that Sailen Manna, one of the Greatest Footballers is no more. His contribution to Indian Football will never be forgotten. I share the grief," AIFF President Praful Patel said in a statement.
As a mark of respect, the AIFF flag is flying at half mast at its Headquarters -- the Football House here. The Indian team will also be wearing black armbands in their international friendly against Azerbaijan.
Manna passed away this morning. He was 87 and is survived by his wife and daughter.
Manna made his debut against France in the London Olympics in 1948. Four years later, he captained India in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Besides being conferred the Padma Shri in 1971, he was also declared the AIFF Player of the Millennium in 2000. He stays the sole Asian to be named among the 10 best Captains in the World by the English FA in 1953.
He represented India in 14 International Matches and was the first Indian footballer to captain India in two back-to-back Asian Games.
He also Coached the Indian National Team in the 1961 and the 1968 Merdeka Cup.
"Sailen Manna will be alive in his achievements. He was a legendary footballer and someone who has been the inspiration of so many generations. May he rest in peace," said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das.