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Famed football coach Amal Dutta dead

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Amal Dutta

Kolkata, July 10 : Famed football coach Amal Dutta, who was keeping ill, passed away on Sunday here, his family said.

The 86-year-old had been suffering from age related illness.

“He was suffering from breathing problems, but was well till the morning. His condition deteriorated in the evening when we rushed him to a hospital. The doctors tried a lot but could not help,” said his son Ashis Dutta.

A midfielder during his playing days, Dutta represented India in the 1954 Asian Games at Manila.

Post his playing career, he went to England for a one-year FA coaching course, where he was taught by the renowned Walter Winterbottom.

On returning to India his first major assignment was to coach the Railways in 1960 for the Santosh Trophy. His first assignment with a big club was in 1963 with East Bengal.

Besides city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, he also coached the Indian national team.

Hailed as the country’s first professional coach, he is credited for shaping Indian football. He was renowned for his bold and innovative tactics and formation.

Former players and coaches payed rich tributes to him.

“I did not have the fortune to play under him but have heard a lot about him. His thought process was far ahead of his time,” said former India captain Baichung Bhutia.

Former India defender Subrata Bhattacharya said: “He played a big role in shaping India’s football and he created numerous talents. His contribution to football is invaluable. His deserved many awards for his sheer contribution to the game.”

Mohun Bagan head coach Sanjoy Sen said: “His death is an irreparable loss to football. His acumen for the game was unmatched. He shall forever be remembered for his diamond system formation.”

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Virat Kohli 9th Indian to make 250 ODI appearances

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Indian Captain Virat Kohli

Sydney, Nov 29: Virat Kohli on Sunday became the ninth Indian cricketer to make 250 appearances in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). He reached the milestone during the second ODI of the ongoing three-match series against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The 32-year-old, who made his ODI debut on August 18, 2008 against Sri Lanka, has also represented India in 86 Tests and 82 T20Is. Kohli has scored more than 21,000 international runs across formats till now.

Overall, Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for making most ODI appearances for India. Tendulkar played 463 ODIs in his stellar career in which he scored 18,426 runs with the help of 49 hundreds. Besides, he also played 200 Tests and 1 T20I scoring 15921 and 10 runs respectively.
The ‘Master Blaster’ is followed by MS Dhoni (347 ODIs), Rahul Dravid (340), Mohammad Azharuddin (334), Sourav Ganguly (308), Yuvraj Singh (301) and Anil Kumble (269) in the list of most ODI appearances by Indian players.

Overall, Tendulkar’s 463 ODI appearances are also the most by any cricketer in the history of the 50-over format. Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene played 448 ODIs and comes second in the list. Next to follow are Sanath Jayasuria (445), Kumar Sangakkara (404), Shahid Afridi (398), Inzamam-ul-haq (378) and Ricky Ponting (375).

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Argentina declares three-day national mourning for Maradona

The former star player and coach, most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team, underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

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Buenos Aires: The Argentina government has declared three days of national mourning for the death of football legend Diego Armando Maradona, the office of the presidency has said.

“The President of the Nation will decree three days of national mourning from the day (of his death),” according to the statement on Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.

Maradona died due to cardiorespiratory arrest at his home in the Tigre district on the northern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

His body did not show “any sign of violence” and everything indicates that he died of “natural causes,” the prosecutor general of the Argentinian town of San Isidro, John Broyad, said.

According to Broyad, Maradona passed away “around 12:00” local time (1500 GMT) Wednesday at his home in the neighbourhood of San Andres, on the northern outskirts of the capital.

In statements to the press, Broyad said that “at 16:00 (local time) the work of the Forensics Police began” on the body of the former footballer.

“No signs of criminality were evident, no signs of violence,” said the prosecutor.

In addition, he reported that an autopsy would be carried out at the morgue of San Fernando Hospital, to “reliably determine the causes of death”.

The former star player and coach, most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team, underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

On October 30, Maradona had celebrated his 60th birthday.

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Diego Maradona (1960-2020): When death felt like a tackle from behind

In India, the 1986 World Cup was where all games were shown live for the first time. And since he made that World Cup his own, Maradona straddled a line between legend and God in a country he wouldn’t visit till 2008.

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Diego Maradona, the shanty-town boy who became a supernatural footballer before his life went into a downward spiral of addiction and myriad health issues for over 30 years, died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He turned 60 on October 30.

Maradona had looked death in the eye a number of times and when he underwent successful surgery for a subdural haematoma recently, his fans would have been forgiven for thinking the worst had passed. In 2004, doctors said his heart was functioning at 40% efficiency. Back then, Maradona pulled through and went on to coach Argentina in the 2010 World Cup where amid the constellation of the planet’s football star, he — in a sharp suit, a diamond stud glinting from an ear and a wristwatch on either hand — was the cynosure till Argentina were gobsmacked by Germany one day after Holland sent Brazil home.

Life, it seemed, was sucked out of that World Cup because the curtains had come down on Maradona’s performance. At press conferences — where once he climbed over the dais to bearhug a journalist who then became the story — and on the pitch where his last memorable act was possibly burying his face on son-in-law Sergio Aguero’s back as Germany scored another goal in that 4-0 rout.

The year 2004 wasn’t the only time he had flirted with death and had the world praying and believing in a miracle. One year later, he had a gastric bypass surgery to help deal with obesity. And as a boy he had survived falling into a pit where he could have drowned. On turning 45 at a party with 400 friends for company, Maradona had said: “I am 45. And I am alive,” wrote Marcela Mora y Araujo, who translated his autobiography “El Diego” in The Observer. “He’s a crazy little giant who dices with death and toboggans unto hell on a daily basis,” wrote Araujo in the introduction to the autobiography.

So it wasn’t surprising that the Maradona of 2006 had again made way to a bloated version of the genius who slalomed his way past England in the 1986 World Cup to score one of the most memorable goals of the competition ever. In Russia in 2018, the version of Maradona that filled fans with dread was seen in the World Cup when he had to be helped from his seat during the Argentina-Nigeria game. He blamed it on wine and said he was fine and we got on with our lives. So when news broke of his heart attack at home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, it felt like a tackle from behind. How could death win this round?

In India, the 1986 World Cup was where all games were shown live for the first time. And since he made that World Cup his own, Maradona straddled a line between legend and God in a country he wouldn’t visit till 2008. In Egypt, bandits released a group of Argentine tourists on realizing they were from Maradona Country, writes Jimmy Burns, in “Hand of God” . But at least he had played a friendly there. He had not in Kolkata, where the Salt Lake stadium spilled over to see him move in a car. In Bangladesh he had not either, but it didn’t matter. Seeing God, the hero of the 1990 World Cup too and in the bit part he played in 1994 before failing a drug test, felt like an act of fulfillment itself.

Maradona’s rise coincided with football transforming into a billion dollar industry, in whose crosscurrents he found himself for most of his playing career. Except possibly the time at Napoli, where he handheld a team trod upon by the rest of the country to European glory. Two Serie A titles, two second-place finishes an Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup immortalized him in the city. It was while he was at Napoli that Maradona transformed from being an artful dodger to a messiah.

It was also where he came in contact with the Cammora, the city’s crime syndicate. It was where he became a cocaine addict. With Maradona, you see, the sublime and the ridiculous are never mutually exclusive, they exist cheek by jowl. Just as life and death did with him till the final blow on Wednesday.

“Maradona,” Burns begins in ‘Hand of God’, “is the story of a natural-born football talent who grew up to believe he was God and suffered as a result. It was on the pitch where he was the happiest, away from all his troubles, he had said. But while doing what he loved since his uncle gifted him a ball when he could barely walk, he also became a hero for the downtrodden, his ‘Hand of God’ epitomizing — justifying too perhaps — the chicanery that they needed to deal with life’s unfair hand. That magical left foot drew you to him, his outspokenness then endeared him to you.

“Poor old Diego. For so many years we have told him repeatedly, ‘You’re a God’, ‘You are a star’, ‘You are our salvation’ that we forgot to tell him the most important thing: ‘You are a man.’” The words of Jorge Valdano, Maradona’s Argentina teammate in the 1986 World Cup, sums up a life extraordinary.

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