Football coach Amal Dutta to be cremated with state honours

Kolkata, July 11 (IANS) The country’s first professional full-time football coach Amal Dutta will be cremated on Monday with full state honours, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here.

The 86-year-old former India player died at a city hospital on Sunday following old age related complications, leaving behind his wife, a son and a daughter.

“Amal Dutta was a legend in football coaching and his loss is irreparable. He is Bengal’s pride and his final rites will be completed with full state honours,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee, along with a host of state ministers and former and current footballers paid their last respects to Dutta at Rabindra Sadan here. His body will be later taken to East Bengal and Mohun Bagan — twin city football giants — he was associated with.

The final rites will be performed at a city crematorium.

Banerjee also announced naming a street as also an upcoming stadium in Dutta’s honour.

Hailed as the country’s first professional soccer coach, he had introduced new formations including the exciting diamond system (4-1-2-1-2 formation) to enthrall the spectators in the 1990s.

A midfielder during his playing days, Dutta represented India in the 1954 Asian Games at Manila.

Post his playing career, he went to England for a one-year FA coaching course, where he was taught by the renowned Walter Winterbottom.

Besides East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, he also coached the national team. He served as the technical director of the Indian team in the 1987 Nehru Gold Cup.

A poet and a tabla player, Dutta also earned many plaudits for penning serialised pieces in a Bengali magazine decades back on the tactics, gameplan and strategies involved in football.

In 1996, Dutta adventured into politics and contested the Lok Sabha election from the erstwhile Calcutta North West constituency on the BJP ticket but finished third.

–IANS

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