NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation condoles the demise of former India captain Babu Mani, who passed away on Saturday, November 19, 2022, at the age of 59.
Known as one of the skilful forwards of his time, Mani made his International debut at the 1984 Nehru Cup in Kolkata, against the famous Argentina side that went on to win the World Cup two years later.
He went on to represent India in 55 international matches, and was a part of the first Indian squad that qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 1984; he later went on to play the tournament proper as well, in Singapore.
While the 1984 Asian Cup was the highlight of his international career, Mani is also a two-time SAF Games gold medallist (1985 and 1987).
AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey said in his condolence message, “I am extremely sad to hear that Babu Mani, who was one of India’s best footballers of his time, is no more. We will always remember him through his contribution to Indian Football. My thoughts go out to his family in this difficult hour.”
Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Secretary General, AIFF, said, “Mr. Babu Mani will always be remembered through his exploits on the football pitch. He was an exceptional footballer, and had inspired many youngsters. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
On the domestic front, Babu Mani was a two-time Santosh Trophy winner, having lifted the title with Bengal in 1986 and 1988.
He had also played and won major trophies for all three major clubs in Kolkata – Mohammedan Sporting (Federation Cup 1983, etc.), Mohun Bagan (CFL 1984, 1986, 1992, IFA Shield 1987, Durand Cup 1984, 1985, 1986, Rovers Cup 1985, 1992, Federation Cup 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, etc.), and East Bengal (CFL 1991, IFA Shield 1990, 1991, Durand Cup 1990, 1991, Rovers Cup 1990).
Babu Mani passed away yesterday, may his soul rest in peace. One of India's most popular wingers of 1980s, Mani was known for his pace, dribbling skills & ability to score after cutting back from wings. A regular for India & big Kolkata clubs during that decade #IndianFootball
After a short stint with ITI Juniors (Bangalore), he joined Mohammedan SC. His most successful spell was with Mohun Bagan (1984-88), whom he captained in 1987, winning Federation Cup multiple times. Part of East Bengal's triple crown winning team of 1990/91 #IndianFootball
With India Babu Mani won gold medal in SAF Games in 1985 & 1987, being team captain in latter. He represented the national team in multiple Nehru Cups during 1980s. He was part of 1984 AFC Championship squad & was one of India's top performers during qualifiers #IndianFootball
He scored Kolkata derby goals for both sides, including in last ever derby at Eden Gardens (1984). For India notable goals came against North Yemen & Malaysia (1984 AFC Championship qualifiers), Trinidad & Tobago (1984) & a brace against Bhutan (1985 SAF Games) #IndianFootball