Tribute to the great souls that we lost
To some they are just names though to others they mean so much more. Each was a colossus in their own right. Through their contributions they nurtured and raised the profile of their respective domain. Time is a great healer however, that said, one cannot but remember with fond affection the ever-lasting mark they left on sport as a whole. We salute them. They are gone but never forgotten. So, it is only fitting that The Daily Star Sport takes this opportunity to now pay its humble tribute to their memories.
A golden chapter in Bangladesh football had closed on February 12, 2005 with the death of former Bangladesh captain Monem Munna. On the day the sports fraternity woke up with a great sadness on the day that Munna was no more.
It was hard to believe that the football icon, who ruled the pitch like a king during the 80s and 90s, breathed his last just at the age of 39.
Fans and football players had cried in silence with the death of one of the finest defenders Bangladesh football has ever produced
Sports lovers had hardly seen such a dominant character on the field in any sport of the country and he was a rare player who could bring spectators to the ground with his sheer charisma.
Munna, who saw him being revered as a giant both in Dhaka and Calcutta leagues, never looked back once he was spotted playing for his school team Narayanganj that won the district football title in 1981.
A quick learner Munna, who was always known as a straight talker, made his national team debut at the age of 18 during the Seoul Asian Games in 1986. He led the national team to the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 and it was under his captaincy that Bangladesh won their first international trophy in the four-nation tournament in Myanmar in 1995. In the same year Bangladesh finished runners-up in the Madras SAF Games. No challenge was too great for a charismatic Munna, who captured the hearts and minds of Indian football fans during his three-year stint with Calcutta giants East Bengal in the 1991-93 season.
But the best of Munna was seen and talked about during his 12 glorious years with Abahani. He led the popular Sky Blues to lift the coveted Premier League title twice.
Having retired in 1997, the one time highest paid footballer of the country paid a heavy price for leading a 'could not care less' lifestyle.
It was impossible for Munna to think of anything but football which finally took a heavy tool on his life. His friends and well-wishers always requested him after his operation not to take the pressure but like the man he was always said: 'It is impossible for me to live without football'.
Munna was diagnosed with kidney related complications and underwent a transplant operation in Bangalore in January 2000 and returned to football in a different capacity. As manager of Abahani he guided the Dhanmondi-based club to three major domestic titles -- the Premier League, National League and the Federation Cup -- in that year.
But this season he had gone through a lot of trouble both on and off the pitch. But whatever that may have been, Munna will live in the hearts of millions for being a footballer who never knew how to say no.
Former national cricketer and Victoria Sporting Club coach Dawlatuzzaman died of massive heart attacks during his team's Premier Division Cricket League cliffhanger against Abahani Krira Chakra at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Cricket Stadium in Fatullah on March 30, 2002. He was 61.
The tall, right arm medium pacer of the 1960s and 1970s, once regarded as the fastest bowler in the country, spent most of his playing career at Mohammedan Sporting Club and helped the popular Motijheel outfit lift the coveted league championship on no less than two occasions.
He played in Bangladesh's first national team against the Marelybone Cricket Club in 1977 and represented Bangla-desh in the first ICC Trophy Championship in 1979.
After retiring from the game at the end of the 982-83 season, Dawlat, who had no child, took to professional coaching. He coached Mohammedan a couple of years back before taking over the reigns at Victoria.
Ataul Haque Mullick
Noted sports personality Ataul Haque Mullick died in a tragic road accident in the city on August 8, 2001. He was 61.
A bus overran the autorickshaw carrying Mullick and his wife in front of Biman's head office at the Balaka Bhaban in Kurmitola when he were going to visit their daughter's family in Uttara.
He was buried at their family graveyard in Swamibagh.
Eldest among his five brothers and three sisters, Mullick was born in a respected Muslim family in Howrah, West Bengal in 1941. His whole family moved to the then East Pakistan in the late fifties.
Mullick was a man of different identities. He was a leading TV and radio commentator, an international cricket umpire and also a FIFA referee. He became a cricket umpire in 1959 and a year later he also turned into a football referee. Later in 1984, he became a FIFA nominated referee.
Although he retired from refereeing in 1991, he continued to do international cricket umpiring and sports journalism till his death.
The country had lost a colossal sports figure in June 1, 1998 when world famous Bangladeshi swimmer Brojen Das died at a clinic in Calcutta at the age of 71.
Brojen Das, who was born in Kuchiamora village under Sirajdikhan thana of Munshiganj district on December 9 (12), 1927, crossed the English Channel six times and he was the first Asian swimmer to cross it in 1958.
His name was enlisted in the Guinness Book of Records in 1961 for his several world records in swimming.
In 1961, he had set three world records in swimming by crossing the English Channel as the fastest man. He crossed the Channel six times, establishing two world records at a time in a day.
Brojen Das, who was respectfully regarded as “Brojenda, had also achieved tremendous success in three longest international swimming in 1959.
His success brought him a long list of awards from home and abroad.
He had received the National Award in 1976, “King of Channel.” a special trophy of Swimming Association (UK), “Pride of Performance.” and Dhaka University Blue award.
Brojen Das was also the lifetime member of Swimming As-sociation (UK) and Royel Life Saving Society (UK), Vice-President of World Long Distance Swimming Association and General Secretary of Bangladesh Swimming Federation.
Son of late Harendra Kumar Das, Brojen championed himself as a master swimmer in an inter-school competition in 1943-45 and inter-college competition in 1948-49, reports BSS.
Later in 1952, he became a champion in 100-metre freestyle in West Bengal. The sports lovers in the then Pakistan saw an emerging star in the sports arena when Brojen became champion in 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle in 1953 in East Pakistan. H ealso became the Pakistan champion in 100m and 200m freestyle, in 1955. In the same year, he became a champion in 100, 200 and 400 yards of freestyle in the Pakistan inter-university competition.
Brojen, who developed himself into a swimmer of international repute by practising in the nearby river in his village home in his early life, accomplished with credit 12 miles and 26 miles swim in Dhaka swimming pool and also completed non-stop 48 hours swimming.
In international swimming competitions, Brojen Das earned credit by swimming 33 kms in Italy, secured the first position in the 23-nation Bili Batlelans Channel swimming competition.
Bangladesh Amateur Wrestling Federation vice-president Haji M A Jalil, alias Tiger Jalil, died of a heart attack in Khulna on September 9, 1999. He was 55.
The one-time grappler and internationally recognized referee's life had came to an end just before the eighth SAF Games to Nepal, where was scheduled to take part as a technical delegate.
A popular figure in the eighties, Tiger Jalil took part in the Bangkok and Delhi Asiad. He also competed in Asia and Europe. He was working as an inspector in the Khulna Metropolitan Police.
Tanvir Haider, renowned sports organiser and vice president of Mohammedan Sporting Club, died on March 26, 2003. He was 54.
Tanvir, mama to all in the sports arena, had actively involved in sports for the long 32 years and played a significant role in various activities including formation of cricket teams of his club. He had also held several important positions of Bangladesh Cricket Board.
The sports fraternity had expressed their deep shocks at the death of the passionate sports organiser, who was almost a regular visitor to the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
On February 23, 1998, country's sports fraternity had sunk into a sea of suffering with a sad end of a dashing cricketer. Indian Test cricketer Raman Lamba had lost his three-day battle for life in the intensive care unit of PG Hospital in the city on the day.
The right-handed Delhi batsman was 39.
Lamba had sustained a massive brain confusion with malignant oedema on February 20, 1998, following the blow he took on his head while fielding at short leg for Abahani against Mohamme-dans during a Premier Super league match at the then Dhaka Stadium. He was not wearing a helmet when a full-blooded pull shot of Mehrab Hossain struck the left side of his forehead (temporal).
The right-handed batsman, who played four Test matches and 32 ODIs for India in the eighties, was a regular visitor to Dhaka. But his familiarity with Dhaka cricket dated back to the beginning of nineties. He first came to Bangladesh in 1990-91 season to play for Brothers Union Club in the Star summer cricket tournament in Chittagong.
He played for Abahani in the 1991-92 season and then played the following two seasons for Greater Mymensingh Cricket Club (GMCC) and he returned to Abahani in 1994-95 season.
Born in Meerat, near Delhi, on second January 1960, Lamba was brought up as a cricketer in Delhi. He had studied in PG DAV College in Delhi and began his cricket career with Sonnet Club of Delhi.
A blend of shock and disbelief had gripped the hearts of thousands in home and abroad with the shocking news. “I'm highly indebted to Lamba. He never hesitated to provide me with necessary tips, especially when I started my career,” Akram Khan had expressed his shock at the death of the cricketer while Aminul Islam was as saying “He was a fighter and responsible for many a Mohammedan defeat in the past ... I can't believe it...a helmet could have saved his life.”
A young cricket fan, who had visited Lamba at the hospital, had an epitaph for the great Indian cricketer. “Raman Lamba will not be judged by the thousands of runs he had scored or for his reputation of being a glamorous rebel. Rather, in the souls of millions, he will remain as a fighter par excellence.”
“It's difficult to put my grief in words,” said Indian star batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Lamba was in the national team Tendulkar made his Test debut in Pakistan in 1989. “I can't imagine a player died after being hit by the ball. It's truly tragic,” he said.
Australian great Steve Waugh, who played against Lamba in a limited-over series in India in 1986, remembered him as a free-stroking opener. Lamba scored a century against Australia on his one-day debut.
“He wanted to hit everything out of the ground,” Waugh said. “It's quite unbelievable he's no more.”
Renowned sports organiser and Secretary General of Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) Zafar Imam died of a heart attack on May 20, 2004 at the age of 65.
He had left behind his wife, an adopted daughter and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.
A pall of gloom had descended on the sports arena as the news of Imam's, a winner of the national sports award, death spread. He was popular as a Zafar bhai in the sports arena to his friends, relatives, sports organisers, players and officials.
Although he was born in Comilla on June 15 in 1941, Imam was the heart of the sports activities in Rajshahi. He had his schooling in Lokhnath School in Rajshahi and graduated from the Rajshahi University. He was a Rajshahi University blue.
Imam played both football and cricket in Rajshahi leagues for Friends Sporting Club between 1955-1966. He played in the Dhaka First Division Football League for Victoria Sporting Club in 1962 as a goalkeeper. He represented the then East Pakistan football team on a number of occasions.
He earned a lot of national and international awards in recognition to his contribution to the field of sports. He took over as the secretary general of BOA in 1998.
MASHIUDDIN AHMED MONTU
Former national cricket coach Mashiuddin Ahmed Montu died on June 24, 2002 at the age of 57.
Montu was a national team coach on and off in the eighties. In his last assignment he was an assistant coach of the Bangladesh Under-16 team in the Under-16 Asian Cup in 2001.
He was a member of the East Pakistan Provincial team in the sixties and retired as player in the late seventies.
The cricket fraternity had shocked over the sudden demise of Montu, who had his last breath in Kolkata where he had underwent treatment for heart ailment.
Former national chess champion MA Shakur died in USA on June 23 at the age of 85.
He was the national champion from 1960 to 1970.
Shakur, who was an engineer in profession, was also a good boxer.
Zahidur Rahman Pushkin
In 2005 the sports arena were fell in sea of suffering with two deaths in a short time. Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) joint secretary and Abahani's hockey committee secretary Zahidur Rahman Pushkin died of brain hemorrhage on March 17 at the age of 41, month before his close friend and country's legendary footballer Monem Munna breathed his last.
Pushkin had devoted his post-playing days as an organiser after retiring from Abahani as a player in 1989.
Pushkin earned recognition as a right winger at Rayerbazar AC before switching to Abahani in 1984. He also played cricket for Cantonian Club in 1980-81 season before joining Sadharan Bima. He had managed the Abahani hockey team virtually with his lone efforts
Khairul Anwar Piaru
The sports community of the country woke up in the morning on March 1 in a deep sense of mourning seeing almost every newspaper with screaming headlines of Dhanmondi Club president Khairul Anwar Piaru's violent death.
Piaru, a former footballer and well-respected organizer, was assassinated the night before when he was leaving the club tent.
Although the killing spree has become part and parcel of city life, the small sports fraternity somehow managed to stay clear of the bloodshed until now. Because people associated with clubs and organizations are generally regarded as good souls.
Piaru, who was a senior vice-president of Bangladesh Football Federation, had taken two bullets in the head and shoulder as a gang of six hiding in the shadow of the club building ambushed him. The killers opened fire as he came out of the club.
Piaru was also a contractor and involved in transport business.
The death of Piaru had clearly indicated that even sport itself is no longer immune from the senseless killing, which has turned into a cheap method of settling disputes.
There were whisperings in the sports arena that Piaru was the first casualty of 'gambling.'
The government has legalized gambling in all clubs so that they can earn some money to meet their expenses. But for the last few years the scenario has taken an ugly turn with terrorists taking over different clubs driving the sport-loving organisers out.
People saw the death as an ominous sign in our sports arena.
Piaru became the club president in 2004 after he had been its general secretary for more than six years.
Piaru captained the Brothers Union in 1975 as a national footballer and was also secretary of the Metropolitan Clubs Samity.
Son of Abul Khair, Piaru had left behind two daughters and as many sons.
Masud Ahmed Rumi
Masud Ahmed Rumi, an eminent sports journalist and freedom fighter died of cardiac arrest on March 11, 2003. He was 55.
Rumi was the senior reporter of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and member of Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association (BSJA).
He had left behind his mother, two brothers, two sisters and a host of relatives and admirers.
In his long career he earned the respect of sports men as well as his colleagues for his bold personality and knowledge of all types of games.
A glittering football star was fallen with the death of Ashraf Chowdhury on December 28, 1998. The mercurial centre-forward of the mid-fifties and early sixties died at the age of 63.
Ashraf, the most exciting cog in the devastating attacking trio of Ashraf-Muree-Kabir during the pre-liberation era, was called a goal machine during his hay days and he was a pivotal force during the meteoric rise of Mohammedan Sporting in domestic football.
Ashraf was also one of the few footballers of the then East Pakistan, who donned the Pakistan national colours. As a Pakistan international, he took part in the 1958 Tokyo Olympic Games.
He was an important player of Mohammedan Sporting Club, second abode of the player, when the popular Motijheel outfit lifted their maiden league title way back in 1957.
Ashraf won the National Sports Award in 1998 for his outstanding contribution to football.
Ashraf never parted with football even after his luminous playing career came to an abrupt end. A true Moha-mmedan, Ashraf as coach led his beloved side to three league triumphs including an unbeaten run in 1978-79. So long was his footballing career as player and coach that most in the arena called him Ashraf Bhai.
He also had a successful stint with Arambagh KS. His passion for the game was so deep-rooted that even at the wrong end of his life he braved a challenge. The true champion, a down-to-earth person, Ashraf coached Prantik KC to win the Second Division League title last year.
Former national Footballer Sheikh Shaheb Ali passed away on June 1, 2004 at the age of 91.
The distinguished player is survived by his wife, three sons, six daughters and a host of admirers.
Shaheb Ali represented the then Pakistan national team and was the first coach of the Bangladesh national team.
After his retirement he served on the executive committee of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).
During his colourful career, Shaheb Ali was one of the architects behind Sonali Otit Club, the organisation of yesteryear players. He also received the National Sports Award for football.
Cricket lost a bright and promising player with the tragic death of Tamim Bashir on June 18, 2004. The 19-year-old Khulna off-spinner's life came to an end at a city hospital.
Tamim had been admitted to the hospital unconscious with cerebral malaria and it was believed the young cricketer contracted the malaria while on vacation in Rangamati.
It was too late when he was admitted to the hospital as soon after the admission his kidneys and brain had stopped functioning.
The untimely death of the cricketer had brought a sharp criticism over the then coaching staff of the Bangladesh Cricket Board's High Performance Unit for allowing him to train despite having a fever.
In his short career, he appeared in 15 first-class matches and had been a loyal player for Dhanmondi Club in the Dhaka League.
On September 22, 1999, a pall of gloom fell on the sports arena when Rabiuddin Ahmed's weeks long battle for life finally came to a sad end. He was only 27.
After having been in deep coma for more than three weeks the star hockey player was declared dead by the attending doctors.
Rabiuddin, the national defender, had sustained a fatal injury on his head at the Physical Training College (PTC) in Mohammadpur on August 29, 1999.
Married only eight months ago, Rabiuddin was all set to take up a new job at the PTC. But the irony was that Rabiuddin started his journey to the unknown from where he had wanted to launch a new career.
While playing basketball he accidentally slipped on to the concrete at the PTC court and got the deadly thud at the back-side of his head. He was rushed to the hospital on that day, but in the meantime he slipped into deep coma.
A fine right-back Rabiuddin made his debut for the national team in the Junior World Cup in 1992. Since then he was a pivotal player of the national team. He started his Dhaka hockey league career for Muktijoddah way back in 1989. Rabiuddin joined Mariners in the following year before changing his allegiance to Mohammedan. He played for Usha for a brief period before joining Abahani.
Debinash Sangma, a star defender of the 60s, died on August 7, 2005. He was 75.
Debinash, who played for Mohammedan Sporting Club for 12 years and also played for Victoria and Wanderers during a career spanning from 1956 to 1969, had been suffering from bladder blade cancer since 1997.
The family members had appealed for help just few days before his death to save the ailing footballer but unfortunately they didn't got any response.
Debashish was the only Bangladeshi (then East Pakistan) footballer to play in the Pakistan national team in the 1963 pre-Olympics in Iran.
Abu Taher Putu
Noted sports organiser Abu Taher, better known as Putu Bhai, died of cardiac arrest on November 16, 2001 in Chittagong. He was 70.
Taher, a confirmed bachelor and national sport awardee, was an ace winger in the East Pakistan football team in the sixties. He also played for Dhaka Wanderers Club.
A soft-spoken person, he was very popular in the sports fraternity of the port city.
He was general secretary of the Chittagong Divisional Sports Association and the Chittagong Jila Krira Sanghstha.
Rouful Hasan, a renowned sports writer, died on November 15, 2001. He was 54.
A career-journalist Rouful, who was Special Correspondent of The Bangladesh Observer, fell ill while covering the first Test between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
A political science graduate from Dhaka University, Rouful joined the then Pakistan Observer in 1970. He also worked for The Daily People for a while before returning to the Observer after the Liberation War.
He was the Bangladesh Correspondent of the Dubai-based Khaleej Times and the Radio Netherlands. The prolific writer also worked for the Weekly Holiday.
Rouful was a member of the Jatiya Press Club and Overseas Correspondents Association of Bangladesh and president of Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association (BSJA).
Noted sports personality and former secretary of the National Sports Council (NSC) MA Rashid breathed his last on January 18, 2001. He was 65.
Rashid was a brilliant footballer and represented the Pakistan national team.
He was the recipient of the Dhaka University Blue for his sporting exploits.
In his professional capacity Rashid, apart from his association with the NSC, served with the aplomb in many other places.
Popularly known as 'Chunna' Rashid, he was also the director administration of the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Pratishthan (BKSP).
He was also earned fame as a sports writer and was president of the Bangladesh Sports Writers Association.
Jawad Ahmed Khan
Doctor Jawad Ahmed Khan, a popular figure in sports arena, died on January 8, 2001. He was 44.
A jovial man and an adored name to all players, Jawad was the physio of the Bangladesh national cricket team that won the ICC Trophy in Malaysia in 1997.
Born in a family of diverse talents, he obtained his MBBS degree in Sri Lanka. His late father Gias Ahmed Khan was a retired army officer and his mother Tahmina Khan Dolly was the first lady ambassador of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka. Jawad, however, was totally devoted to sports despite the fact that he had never been a good athlete as his only brother Fuad.
Though he was associated mainly with popular club Abahani, the down-to-earth man was known to be helpful to everybody.
The energetic doctor was always seen busy volunteering his services for the injured on the field from any team.
Former national footballer and coach Abdur Rahim died on October 30, 2004 at his residence at Rokonpur in the old part of the capital. He was 72.
National awardee Rahim had been suffering from kidney ailment for long.
A former member of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), Rahim is survived by his wife and two sons.
Rahim started his career with the First Division side Dhaka Wanderers in 1948. In a career spanning 27 years, he also played for BJMC, Azad Sporting Club and BUET.
He started his coaching stint with the national team for the Merdeka Cup in 1975.
Rezaul Haq Bachchu
Renowned sports journalist Rezaul Haq Bachchu died of heart attack at Mugaltuli in Chittagong on July 1 last year. He was 60.
Bachchu was a very popular figure in the sports arena of the port city.
A three-time national marathon champion of then East Pakistan, Bachchu served as a sports reporter in many national dailies and also was the founding president of the Chittagong chapter of the Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association (BSJA).
He left behind three sons and a host of well wishers to mourn his death.
The sports fraternity fell in deep shock by the untimely death of Monwar Ahmed, a young sports reporter of the Daily Manavzamin.
Monwar died at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) in the early hours on October 7, 2004 at the age of only 26.
The energetic sports writer was also a student of Mass Communication and Journalism Department at Dhaka University.
Monwar was rushed to the DMCH from Ziaur Rahman Hall after he complained of pain in his chest, but the attending doctors declared him dead.
Monwar started his career as the university reporter of Dainik Provat before joining Ajker Kagoj. He worked there for three years before switching to Manavzamin in 2003.
Prominent sports personality Mohammad Shahjahan died on April 3, 1992. He was 72.
Shahjahan started his career as an athlete and won the 400m and 800m gold medals in the Bengal Olympic in 1930. Later he played football, hockey and kabaddi in a long career.
He played football for Gymkhana, East Bengal, Calcutta Mohammedan Sporting Club during the period of 1932 to 1941.
He was secretary of Mohammedan Sporting Club after 1947.
In 1950, Shahjahan was the torch-bearer in the opening ceremony of then Dhaka Stadium.
He also served as the president of Bangladesh Athletics Federation and secretary of Bangladesh Olympic Association.
Shahjahan got the National Award in 1976.
Eminent sports journalist Badi-Uz-Zaman died on May 22, 2000 at the age of 62.
Badi-Uz-Zaman, who was popularly known as Badi bhai in the sports arena, was a sports editor of the Daily Ittefaq. Zaman had been working with the newspaper since 1972.
He started his career in the early 60s with the now defunct Daily Azad and he served as honorary editor of the fortnightly sports magazine Krirajagat.
Zaman was also the editor of "Samabaya", a publication of the directorate of co-operatives.
He wrote numerous articles and books including 'Mohammedan Sporting Club in Muslim Renaissance' and a research-based book titled "Football Jadukar Samad".
INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN: The sports desk is no longer inside a room. It is separated by a three-foot partition from the rest of the crowd in the new office. The sports team is absolutely chaffed about the lack of privacy