Former Olympian football star Mohammad Abdus Sattar, who was part of the 1951 Asian Games gold winning team and led Mohun Bagan to their maiden Rovers Cup victory in 1955, died here late last night. Sattar, 85, suffered from dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease and had breathing problems in the evening as doctors declared him dead of suspected pneuomonia around 11pm, his son Aftab told PTI.
Sattar, who played in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, is survived by a son, two daughters and wife. Confined to bed in his flat near Park Street here for more than two years, Sattar was a forgotten hero even by his club Mohun Bagan through whom he made his career.
But hearing the news of his death, Mohun Bagan president Swapan Sadhan Bose and former footballers including Shabbir Ali paid their last condolences on Sunday morning. Sattar might have suffered memory loss due to dementia, but he distinctly remembered Mohun Bagan's name, for whom he played from 1950-58, which had recognised his contribution by conferring him with the "Ratna" (jewel) award in 2008. Talking to PTI last year, an ailing Sattar tried to recall his past, though with difficulty.
"I used to be a playmaker for Mohun Bagan," he had said as his eyes turned moist.
The conversation however could not go forward as he failed to recall anything more.
He even forgot the names of his son and wife.
In early 1950s, he had a lucrative job with Calcutta Customs which had a team playing in second division. "It was a very big post at that time, but to pursue his dream of playing for India, he quit the job and joined Mohun Bagan. Soon, he got the India break and played with the likes of Shew Mewa Lall under Sailen Manna, as they went on to win the 1951 Asian Games gold in Delhi," his son Aftab recalled. "But what he got in return for his sacrifice? There was no financial help for his treatment," Aftab lamented.