The country’s first ‘diamond’ football coach and former footballer Amal Dutta (May 4, 1931-July 10, 2016) died on Sunday. According to his family he was 86 years old and he died due to age related illness around 8:10 pm in his Kolkata residence. This veteran footballer was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and bedridden for last five months. Amal Dutta was survived by his son and daughter, Ashish and Anita.
Ashis Dutta said, “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”.
Amal Dutta and His Career
He played as a midfielder for East Bengal from 1953-1956. He represented India in the 1954 Asian Games and in 1953, Quadrangular meet in Rangoon against Pakistan.
He quitted his playing as player to pursue an FA coaching course in England. In 1960, he became the first Indian professional football coach. On returning to India he coached Railway in 1960 for Santosh Trophy.
After that in 1964 he got his first break as a coach in East Bengal midway through Calcutta League. He was bold enough to give up his job in Railways and became a fulltime coach. He took over the East Bengal coaching in 1963 and in a while moved on to Mohun Bagan as a coach. He also coached Indian team in 1987 for SAF Games at Calcutta and in 1988 for Nehru Cup at Siliguri. He was the technical director of Nehru Cup.
Dutta’s ‘Diamond’ Introduction
This veteran footballer was known for his experiment. He introduced India’s first footfall diamond formation 4-1-2-1-2. He was the pioneer behind Mohun Bagan’s Diamond System that had taken the club in a different level.
- He won PK Nair Gold Cup and Duran Cup in 1956
- He got gold medal for SAF Games at Calcutta in 1987
1. East Bengal Coaching
- Calcutta Football League; 1977, 1982
- IAF Shield; 1976, 1984(Joint winner)
- Durant Cup (Joint winner); 1982
- Rovers Cup; 1975,1976
- Darjeeling Gold Cup (Joint winner); 1982
- Sanjay Gandhi Gold Cup (Joint Winner); 1984
- Bordoloi Trophy; 1992
- Airlines trophy; 1992
- ATP Shield; 1992
2. Mohun Bagan Coaching
- Calcutta Football League; 1969, 1986, 1997, 2005
- IFA Shield; 1969, 1987, 1989, 1998
- Rovers Cup; 1970, 1985, 1991
- Durant Cup; 1985,1986
- Federation Cup; 1986, 1987, 1998
- DCM Trophy; 1997
- HK Mookherjee Shield; 1969
- Nehru Trophy (Madras); 1970
- Sikkim Gold Cup; 1985,1986,1989
- SS Trophy; 1987
- Airlines Trophy; 1989, 2005
- Independence Day Cup; 1997
3. Mohammedan Sporting Coaching
- Rovers cup (Joint winner); 1980
- DCM Trophy; 1980
- Sikkim Gold Cup; 1980
Renowned personalities pay homage to Amal Dutta:
Mohun bagan said, “He was an institution in himself. We shall miss you. May his soul rest in peace”.
Sanjay Sen, Head Coach of Mohun Bagan stated, “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”.
PK Banerjee, the veteran footballer portrayed him as a ‘true fighter’. “He took sport to a different level during his playing days at East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and India. He fought till the end”.
AIFF (All India Football Federation) president, Praful Patel showed his condolence, “It is sad to hear that Mr. Amal Datta is no more. His contribution to Indian Football will never be forgotten. I share the grief”.
Chuni Goswami, the legendary footballer grieved, “He was a man devoted to football. He always wanted to do something differently and innovatively. It’s a great loss for Indian football”.
Former football coach and Mohun Bagan player Subrata Bhattacharya described Dutta as a ‘pioneer’. “Amal Datta was someone who believed in innovations. He was modern in outlook. No other coach or player was more informed about modern football. It’s sad that Indian football has never been able to appreciate his value as a coach”.
Former Indian midfielder, Satyajit Chatterjee remembered his days with Dutta and said, “Had I not come in touch with him, I wouldn’t have become a complete footballer”.
Baichung Bhutia asserted, “I was fortunate enough to meet him quite a number of times and was amazed to see how he kept talking about strategies”.
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”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on Twitter, “Saddened at the passing away of Amal Dutta. Football world will miss him. It’s a great loss. My condolences to his family and friends”.
This is the greatest loss for Indian Football. In that time when a job was important than dream, Dutta swam against the tide to follow his dream career. He is the inspiration for young footballers.