NAKED FEET: TALIMEREN AO THE FOOTBALL HERO FROM NAGALAND


'the team played mostly barefoot…'

FIFA WORLD CUP'2014 is over and you know who the winner is. The ‘Who is Sachin Tendulkar?’  by Maria Sharapova got the fluming reaction from Sachin’s fans, but now the matter has faded. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag made Farhan Akhtar win the National Award for Best Actor-Male. Irfan Khan gave a flawless performance in Paan Singh Tomar. Priyanka Chopra playing Mary Kom was a complete parody. Read somewhere that Sushant Singh Rajput is going  to play the title role in the movie Dhoni and John Abraham will be essaying the role of Sibdas Bhaduri. Sorry Aamir Khan fans Lagaan  was historically incorrect, sorry Uday Chopra’s fan Dhoom series is not a biopic of a biker. Leaving aside the biopic, there are not many sweet relevant things we don’t know in the field of Indian Sport.

DO YOU KNOW TALIMEREN AO?

Such a good looking man!

Talimeren Ao was a footballer and a physician, adding to my romantic fantasy, he was handsome and 5’10. He was born on 28th January 1918 in the village of Changki (then Naga Hills, District of Assam). He was the fourth of eleven children born to Rev. Subongwati and his wife Moasangla.  In 1943, T.Ao joined Mohun Bagan (the famous football club which exists to this date), he was given the captain’s armband in 1948 (a year after India won its independence) to captain the Indian Football Team in London and in 1950, for Durand Cup he captained Bagan but lost the final match to Hyderabad Police.With best possible preparation the Indian team led by Talimeren  Ao (who was the captain of India national football team in 1948 Summer Olympics) and Sailen Manna left for England on the June 6th, 1948. The first match for Indian team was against Myanmar (then Burma), which India won. The second match was against France and it was scheduled on July 31st. In order to adapt to the conditions in England (which of course was nothing like India), India played five preparation matches ahead of  that. Sadly, the team lost 2-1 (goal coming from Sarangapani Raman).

The legend was it that the team played mostly barefoot, various accounts have been put forward for playing ‘naked feet’, some say that they could not afford the boots, some say they were comfortable playing that way.Anyway, the team wore boots for soft and rainy grounds.

AFTERWARD





1948 Europe Tour
Talimeren played five more matches for India before retiring from active matches. Later, he pursued medical studies at R. G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, Calcutta. He earned his MBBS, in 1963 he returned to Nagaland (his home state) where he was given the post of Assistant Civil Surgeon, later Civil Surgeon. He held the post of Director of Nagaland Health Services till his retirement in 1978.  

He suffered from seasonal influenza, his weak health and the diabetic problem (old age is such a pain) led to further complication. From Dimapur, he was transported to Kohima and was hospitalized in Naga Civil Hospital, Kohima, where he first served as Civil Surgeon in the early 1960s (life and its ironies). He died on 13th September 1998, as per his wishes he was buried in the Naga Cemetery, Khermahal, Dimapur.

VARIOUS ACCOLADES

Mohun Bagan honored him in 2002 by creating the Mohun Bagan Ratna Award and giving him a Life Membership.  

In Assam, an outdoor stadium at Kaliabor and an indoor stadium at Cotton College have been named after him (one of them has wrongly scribbled his name).

In 2009, B.K Handique, the then Union Minister of Mines and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) inaugurated the first Dr. T. Ao Football Trophy at the DDSC Stadium in Dimapur, Nagaland.

End…
In brief, this was the story of Dr.Talimeren Ao whose contribution towards Indian Sports is often left unsung.


Sorry to bother you but I'm trying to increase the number of followers on my blog. Hence, I'll be grateful to whoever follows.

Comments

Popular Posts