GUWAHATI, Dec 14 – Former international footballer Babul Phukan died at the International Hospital here today.
An officer of SBI, he was suffering from liver-related disease for a long time and breathed his last today at the age of 48 years. Born at Chakalibhoria village near Panitola in Tinsukia district, Babul was from a football family as his elder brothers Reboti Phukan, Sada Phukan, who died some years back, and Rudra Phukan, all are State players.
Babul played for Assam subjunior, junior and Santosh Trophy teams on several occasions. He was picked for the Indian youth team which played in Pakistan and Riyadh in 1985-86. Babul also played for Kolkata giant Mohammedan Sporting in 1989. In the Guwahati Sports Association league, Babul played for Maharana Athletic Club, Gauhati Town Club, Navajyoti Club, Dynamo Club and Young Amateur Club. As a member of the SAI team, Babul played against a Russian team in Guwahati and Shillong in 1988.
His untimely death was condoled by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Sports Minister Ajit Singh, Assam Football Association secretary Ankur Dutta, GSA president Rana Goswami, State sepak takraw body president Sarat Borkotoky, secretary Bishnu Ram Nunisa, international footballers Debashir Roy and Gilbertson Sangma along with organisations like Maharana Athletic Club, Gauhati Town Club, Assam Football Association, Guwahati Sports Association, Dynamo Club, Tinsukia Sports Association, Veteran Cricket Association of Assam, etc.
The Chief Minister said the State has lost a player who brought great laurels to the country and his stylish footwork, skill and sportsmanship would remain an example for the next generation of footballers.
ULFA (I) C-in-C Paresh Baruah also condoled the death of the talented player. Talking to this correspondent over telephone, Baruah also appealed to the sportspersons to maintain a good health. Mohammedan Sporting Club also condoled the untimely death of its former player. The Kolkata club held a condolence meeting and remembered Babul Phukan’s contribution to the club. They also kept the Club flag half mast to mourn his death.
His body was taken to Maharana Club, GTC, AFA, GSA, Dynamo Club and SBI NE Head Office before carrying it to his native village for performing the last rites. He leaves behind his wife and a minor daughter.