AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino has condoled the death of former India captain Babu Mani, who passed away on November 19, 2022, at the age of 59.
In a letter to AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey, the FIFA president said, “I would like to express my sincerest and heartfelt condolences on the recent passing of former international player, Babu Mani. Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel for this loss.
"Football legend, considered as one of India's best footballers of his generation, inspiration for many, his legacy and achievements, and in particular his leadership, his personality and his human qualities will not be forgotten, and he will be truly missed. On behalf of the international football community, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the All India Football Federation, and to Babu’s family, friends and loved ones. Our thoughts are with all of you. We hope that these memories and our words of support may help bring some peace and solace at this difficult time,” Infantino said.
Known as one of the skillful 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 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). At domestic level, he successfully represented Bengal in the Santosh Trophy, winning it twice. At club level, he notably defended the colours of Mohammedan SC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC, winning several titles along the way.