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70’s and 80’s - golden period of Assam soccer: Moti Lal

70’s and 80’s - golden period of Assam soccer: Moti Lal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  20 Jan 2019 8:19 AM GMT

Our Sports Reporter

GUWAHATI: He left competitive soccer for nearly two decades ago but his passion towards this game remains same. He still visits the Nehru stadium to watch the regular activities of football. Moti Lal Das, the former captain of Assam Santosh Trophy team, in a discussion with The Sentinel admits that golden period of soccer in Assam was the decades of 70’s and 80’s in last century. Here is the excerpt.

TS: 70’s and 80’s of last century is considered as the golden period of Guwahati as well as football in Assam. How was the atmosphere?

Oh! It was great. Just like Kolkata, which was the Mecca of Indian football that time, Guwahati was the Mecca of football in Assam. All the top players of the State had only one aim and it was to play in a club in Guwahai. It made the local league one of the toughest competitions in the State.

TS: How was the rivalry among the local clubs?

You can’t imagine it. There are several clubs- Gauhati Town Club, Maharana Athletic Club, Navajyoti Club, Santipur Athletic Club- which prepared good teams every year and their fan base too were very strong. So when two quality teams meet each other and thousands of crowed reached the grounds to cheer for their respective teams.

TS:But local players, even those who represented State, hardly got minimum basic facilities during those days.

Very true. Now you can get the help of experts instantly. But during our days it was not possible. We had to wait eagerly for the beginning of state level selection camp. Top coaches of the State like Adhir Roy, Bilash Barua and Bijan Gopal Das were available and we had the opportunity to learn something new or rectify our errors from them. However most of our senior players were very good human being and never hesitated to guide us during needs. I think it was the main reason that football made good progress in the State during that period.

TS:And the contribution of pioneering sports organizers...

Hats off to them. You can’t compare the contribution of sports organizers like Animesh Ganguly, Subodh Goswami etc to promote soccer in the State. They would be in the list of all time great sports organizers of Assam. Those sports organizers had impeccable credentials in searching talents for clubs and state.

TS:There is allegation that during 70-80’s national selectors hardly gave any attention to the players of other states except Bengal, Goa and few others. Is it true?

Yes, very much. I can tell you a series of names (Arun Borthakur, Amal Barphukan, Rebati Phukan, Kalimuddin, Mukul Showers, Dambaru Khanikar, Gilbertson Sangma, Tosen Bora etc) from Assam who had talent as well as skill to serve Indian soccer team and that too for a long period. It is very unfortunate that they didn’t get proper justice from the national selectors.

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