AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation condoles the demise of former India goalkeeper Kuppuswami Sampath, who passed away in Bengaluru on Monday, March 6, 2023. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
K Sampath will always be remembered for his exemplary performance in the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games when India won the bronze medal.
Born on September 15, 1947, the former India custodian had represented the country in 18 matches, which included the 1970 and 1972 Merdeka Cup, the 1970 Asian Games, and the 1971 Pesta Sukan Cup.
His international career was one strewn with accolades. Apart from the Asian Games when India won the bronze medal, Sampath was also a part of the India team that ended third in the 1970 Merdeka Cup and joint champions of the 1971 Pesta Sukan Cup in Singapore.
"Former India goalkeeper K Sampath's demise comes as a big loss for Indian Football. He was one of the best goalkeepers of the 1970s and will be revered for years to come. As an upcoming goalkeeper in my younger days, I had heard of his heroics in the 1970 Asian Games, and was hugely inspired by it," said AIFF President Mr Kalyan Chaubey.
Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said, "Everyone in Indian Football is extremely saddened on hearing about the passing away of K Sampath. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace."
In the 1970 Asian Games, the two coaches, GMH Basha and PK Banerjee, had so much faith in him that Sampath was one of the few players in the squad, who figured in all the six matches India played in a span of 11 days. His teammates still recall how Sampath flew like a bird to the far post to save a powerful shot from famed Japan striker Kunishige Kamamoto during the closing stages of the Bronze Medal match. India eventually won the match by a solitary goal.
At the domestic level, Sampath had represented Services (1970-73) and Goa (1974-78) in the Santosh Trophy.
He had also played for the Madras Engineering Club (Bangalore) from 1960 to 1972, and for Dempo SC from 1973 to 1978. It was at the latter club where he won the Rovers Cup in 1974 and 1978.