Monday, March 20, 2023

Football lovers bid tearful farewell to P Vijay Kumar


Jamshedpur, Nov. 20: The football lovers of the city bid a tearful adieu to international soccer player P Vijay Kumar on Friday. Kumar, 58, was senior Tata Football Academy coach and a former international footballer. He succumbed to a cardiac arrest here on Thursday.

Kumar, who was appointed coach of TFA in 1996, complained of uneasiness at around 3.30 a.m. When he was taken to Tata Main Hospital, the doctors declared him brought dead. He left behind his wife and a daughter.

Kumar’s body was brought to TFA campus afternoon before his last journey to the Parvati crematorium.

Meanwhile, former cadets of TFA Gurprit Singh, Subodh Kumar, Sanjay Balmuchu and Krishna Das arrived in the city this morning after they heard the news of Kumar’s demise.

“I am in state of shock. We learnt the nuances of football from him. I was in regular touch with him over the phone and took tips from him,” said East Bengal mid-fielder Subodh, a 2010 cadet of TFA.

Gurprit, who graduated in 2004 and is employed with the Railways and a former East Bengal forward, said, “I feel sad with his demise. He will always remain in my heart.”

Kumar assisted TFA in producing as many as 178 footballers for the country during his two-decade stint at the city soccer cradle.

Kumar, a midfielder in his hay days, had donned India colours for four years (1986-89). He was part of the national squad in the SAF Games in Kolkata in 1987, besides turning out in three Nehru Cup matches (1987-89) in Calicut, Kolkata and Siliguri. Kumar also played for the country in the Asia Cup (Singapore) in 1988.

Born and brought up in Jamshedpur, Kumar joined Tata Steel in 1977. He originally hailed from Hyderabad. The former international player was a pillar of strength when it comes to the TFA. He has been instrumental in shaping careers of several cadets, who are now with various professional football clubs.

Kumar was also honored with the title of ‘Best Coach’ for the Syed Rahim Trophy, during the 114th IFA Shield Football Tournament, which was held from August 9 to 12 September 2009. This title has been introduced by the Indian Football Association (IFA) in memory of former India coach Abdul Rahim.

Besides qualifying for Groups A, B and C of the AFC License Course, Kumar took pride in representing India in several football matches, the Santosh Trophy, the Nehru Cup, the SAF Games and the Pre-World Cup Qualifying match, being some of them.

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