Former Mumbai hockey official Baptist passes away

Mumbai: Former president of the erstwhile Bombay Hockey Association, Baptist de Souza, on Tuesday breathed his last after a brief illness. He was 81.

The funeral of de Souza, who was BHA chief when the 5th World Cup Hockey Tournament was conducted here in 1981, will be held at Chandanwadi tomorrow, a release from the association said on Tuesday.

De Souza, an automobile engineer by profession, was instrumental in the Mahindra Stadium getting the artificial turf and during his tenure from 1980 to 1998 Mumbai hockey, with a host of Olympians and World Cuppers, was at the top in the country, said the release from the renamed Mumbai Hockey Association.

A sports enthusiast, he was the guiding force behind establishing Mahindras, with whom he was employed for a long while, as a top force in football and hockey.

He, with other Mahindra stalwarts like former national golf champion Rajkumar Pitambar and B B A Sule, encouraged sports and generated respectable jobs for the likes of triple Olympian M M Somaya, Joaquim Carvalho, Marcellus Gomes, Mark Patterson, Dhanraj Pillay, Darryl D’Souza, Gavin Ferreira and World Cuppers Francis D’Mello, Edgar Mascarenhas, the release said.

Mahindras also had in their ranks top footballers like Mustafa, Shivdas, Nataraj, Godfrey Pereira, Santosh Kashyap and Shanta Kumar.

But De Souza will be remembered most for changing the face of Mumbai hockey, its stadium and for his constant efforts to bring in financial aid for the development of the game in the metropolis and the country, in general, the release added.