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Olympian footballer Mewalal is dead


Kolkata : Former Olympian footballer Sahu Mewalal, revered for his scoring ability, died at a state-run city hospital early Saturday following old age complications.

A lethal centre forward in the five-strong attack formation of yore, Mewalal, 82, left behind his wife, a son and two daughters.

Mewalal turned out in the national colours in the London Olympics, 1948, and Helsinki Olympics, 1952, besides playing a key role netting four goals in the Indian team’s gold conquest at the 1951 Delhi Asiad. It was he who fashioned India’s 1-0 victory in the Asian Games final by scoring the all-important goal against Iran.

He got a berth in the Indian team which toured several European countries in the late 1940s, scoring six goals in four matches. He also toured Afghanistan, Myanmar and Thailand with the national team.

A darling of the soccer fans, Mewalal was known for his acrobatic fitness and spectacular back volleys, and emerged top scorer in the Kolkata football league on five occasions – 1949, 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1958.

Born July 1, 1926 here, he started his football career in the right out slot, but shifted to centre forward within a short time.

Mewalal grabbed attention as a 18-year-old when he struck the winning goal for the Indian Football Association-XI against India-XI in 1944, and was recruited by Aryan club next year.

He played for Mohun Bagan in 1946, prior to a long stint with the Eastern Railway from 1947 to 1955. He also turned out for Bengal Nagpur Railway in 1958.