New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel led the football fraternity in condoling the demise of his predecessor and veteran Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who passed away at the Apollo Hospital here on Monday.
Describing Dasmunsi’s demise as a massive loss for Indian Football, Patel said: “It is very sad to hear that Dasmunshi is no more. His contribution to Indian Football can never be forgotten. The thoughts and prayers of the Indian football community are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
“He was a visionary and had laid the path for the development of Indian Football over the years. May his soul rest in peace,” he added.
Dasmunsi, 72, was in coma since 2008. He is survived by his wife Deepa Dasmunsi and son Priyadeep Dasmunsi.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das in his message said: “He has been an inspiration to all. He was a workaholic and we will always remember him for his passion for Football. I share the grief.”
“On behalf of AIFF we extend our heartfelt condolences to all members of the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.”
Dasmunsi was first elected as the AIFF President in December 1988 when he succeeded Khalifa Ziauddin to the post.
AIFF senior vice-president Subrata Dutta also condoled the death of the former Congress leader and former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting.
“His contribution to football cannot be forgotten, ” Dutta told IANS over phone.
“He started the National Football League and brought professionalism in Indian football. He appointed Alberto Colaco as the first professional general secretary during his time and I also became the vice-president in 2004 under him,” Dutta reflected.
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia in his message said: “It’s a very sad development”.
“He was the president for a long time and his contribution to Indian football has been massive. He was not well for a very long time.
“He was very passionate about football and coming from Bengal football was in his blood. He was very supportive when I was playing in East Bengal,” the Indian football icon added.
Another former India captain Victor Amalraj said Indian football lost an able administrator in Dasmunshi.
“When I captained India to the President’s Cup in Dhaka, Dasmunshi was our team manager and Milovan was the coach. He proved to be an asset to the team with his timely advice and encouraging words”.
“I convey my deepest condolences to the breaved family. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Amalraj said.
As a mark of respect, the AIFF flag will be flown at half-mast at the AIFF Headquarters here in Dwarka and a minute’s silence will be observed prior to the kick-off of all AIFF matches.
It was under Dasmunsi’s leadership that Vision India Projects were launched along with the National Football League, and later the I-League along with the AIFF Elite Academy in Goa.
It was also under his tenure that India won the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 in Delhi to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup Doha 2011 for the first time since 1984; and also the 2007 Nehru Cup.
Dasmunsi also served as a member of the AFC Executive Committee, the AFC Technical Committee, and was also the Chairman of AFC Legal Committee.
He was a member of the FIFA Court of Arbitration and acted as the Vice-President of the Indian Olympic Association.
Besides, he was also actively involved as a FIFA Technical Study Group Member in 1995 Women’s Women Cup (Sweden) and a Match Commissioner in 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup (US).
The former AIFF President was the first Indian to attain the privilege of being the special Duty officer at the 1998 France World Cup and the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup.
He was also the Chef`de Mission of the India Olympics Contingent in 2004 in Athens and Match Commissioner for two World Cup Matches in 2006 Germany World Cup.
In addition, he was also the venue-in-charge for FIFA World Cups for three consecutive editions — France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006.
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