Former I-League winner wages lone battle against cancer

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New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Indian football fans of a certain vintage would remember the name of Sanjay Parte. The former full back was notably part of the Salgaocar side that won the 2010-11 I-League title and played for the big three clubs of Kolkata — Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. He is now fighting a lone battle against blood cancer.

Parte was diagnosed with the disease in 2018 while he was coaching the Kahani Football Academy in Ahmedabad. He had completed his C licence in coaching and was preparing for the B licence exam at the time of the diagnosis.

Speaking to IANS from his residence in Bokaro, Jharkhand, Parte said that he is currently undergoing treatment at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital and the cost of his treatment is Rs 20 lakh — an amount that can go up in the coming months.

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“According to the doctors, my treatment may cost around Rs 20 lakh and so far I myself am trying to meet the initial expenses. I have my old parents, my wife and a two and half year old daughter to support me,” he said.

Parte has enjoyed a decorated career as a player. Apart from winning the I-League, he has also won the Federation Cup, Super Cup and Durand Cup with Salgaocar and represented Mahindra United in the AFC Cup. In addition to his achievements in club football, Parte has also represented the Indian U-19 and U-21 teams.

He has been appealing to ministers and political leaders to help him fund the treatment, but his requests have fallen on deaf ears due to the Lok Sabha elections.

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“In the last three months I have been doing the rounds of ministers and leaders but all are busy with the elections. The stock reply is let the election be over and we will look into your matter,” Parte said.

However, he has received support from former players Ajay Singh and Henry Menezes. “Local footballer Ajay Singh and Henry Menezes have extended a helping hand and because of them I am still alive,” he said.

Parte is not comfortable with asking for help from his former clubs or the All India Football Federation, stating that individuals he was familiar with were keeping a distance from him and so he doesn’t expect anything more from others.

Sportspersons suffering from poverty and negligence after retirement is an unfortunate commonality in India. A recent example is Poongam Kannan. Once called the Asian Pele, he was dealing with acute financial crisis and died at a hospital in Kolkata in April 2019. Parte’s hope would be that he doesn’t suffer a similar fate.

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(Jagannath Chatterjee can be contacted at [email protected])

— IANS

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