Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: Renowned footballer and coach Abdul Latif passed away last night after prolonged illness. He was 72. The former international footballer left behind his wife and two daughters.
Latif, who played as a midfielder, represented India in the 1970 Asian Games where the team had won a bronze. He also represented two big clubs of Kolkata-Mohammedan Sporting and Mohun Bagan during late sixties and early part of seventies.
The footballer hold a rare record of representing Santosh Trophy for three different states: Karnataka, Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. After taking retirement from football he actively involved in coaching and was equally successful. A brilliant schemer of strategies Latif coached Mohammedan Sporting in 1978 and former Indian captain Victor Amalraj was one of his trainee.
Later he shifted to Assam and actively involved in coaching. Under his training Assam brought laurels from many competitions. Assam won Sub Junior National Soccer title thrice under his coaching between 1979-1981. He also coached State team in the Santosh Trophy. In the club football coaching Latif was mostly associated with Gauhati Town Club and Green valley club.
Recalling his association with Latif former national footballer Bidhan Das said: I played under him on numerous occasions. He was brilliant as a coach. Assam made hat-tric of victory in Sub Junior National soccer (1979-1981) under him and I was in the team on last occasion. Later I also played Santosh trophy and in different club level meet under his coaching. He was a very good strategy maker and also knew it very well how to bring out the best from a player.”
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today condoled the death of Latif. In a message Chief Minister said: “Latif, a great footballer in his era, would be remembered for his superb skills and dedication.”
Assam Sports Journalists Association also condoled the death of former international footballer. In a release secretary Imtiaz Ahmed said: “He was great footballer and one of the finest coach that Assam has ever got. His demise has created an irreparable void in the state football.”
Among other condoled the death of Latif included Gauhati Sports Association, Assam Sepak Takraw Association, Assam Badminton Association, Assam Cricket Association, Assam Kho Kho Association, Veteran Cricketers Association of Assam (VCAA) and All Assam Students’ Union.