Kolkata, July 10 (IANS) Famed football coach Amal Dutta, who was keeping ill, passed away on Sunday here, his family said.
The 86-year-old had been suffering from age related illness.
“He was suffering from breathing problems, but was well till the morning. His condition deteriorated in the evening when we rushed him to a hospital. The doctors tried a lot but could not help,” said his son Ashish Dutta.
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.
On returning to India his first major assignment was to coach the Railways in 1960 for the Santosh Trophy. His first assignment with a big club was in 1963 with East Bengal.
Besides city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, he also coached the Indian national team.
Hailed as the country’s first professional coach, he is credited for shaping Indian football. He was renowned for his bold and innovative tactics and formation.
Former players and coaches paid rich tributes to him.
“I did not have the fortune to play under him but have heard a lot about him. His thought process was far ahead of his time,” said former India captain Baichung Bhutia.
Former India defender Subrata Bhattacharya said: “He played a big role in shaping India’s football and he created numerous talents. His contribution to football is invaluable. His deserved many awards for his sheer contribution to the game.”
Mohun Bagan head coach Sanjoy Sen said: “His death is an irreparable loss to football. His acumen for the game was unmatched. He shall forever be remembered for his diamond system formation.”