Legendary footballer Shah passes awayLegendary footballer and former national team captain Mani Shah passed away at the Norvic International Hospital in Thapathali on Monday.
Legendary footballer and former national team captain Mani Shah passed away at the Norvic International Hospital in Thapathali on Monday.
The 51-year-old, popularly known as ‘Nepali Maradona’, was suffering from liver complications for years. He was admitted to the Hospital on Sunday after high fever and was kept under ventilator support on Monday morning. He was pronounced dead in the evening. His body will be kept at the Dasharath Stadium for final tribute on Tuesday. He is survived by wife and a daughter.
Shah, who made national team debut at the age of 17 during the 1985 South Asian Federation Games (now called South Asian Games) in Bangladesh, is remembered as one of the best footballers Nepal has ever produced. He was one of the key players of the Nepali squad that won gold medal in the 1993 SAG in Dhaka. While Nepal was trailing 2-1 against India in the final, Shah scored the equaliser in the fading moments of the match through freekick. Nepal eventually won the match 4-3 in the penalty shootout.
All Nepal Football Association vice president and former national team captain Upendra Man Sing, who played alongside Shah, called him as “the best midfielder” Nepal has ever had. “I have not seen a player of such qualities in midfield so far,” said Singh, the former national team assistance coach.
Singh, who played together with Shah for eight years during 1991-1998 calls Shah as his idol. “I met him for the first time at a programme at Dipendra Police School and played for the first time with him at 1991 SAG. He always encouraged the juniors,” said Singh who was also his teammate during the footballer’s last international tournament in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.
Shah won 48 caps with six goals during his 13-year career from 1985 to 1998 and played his last in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. He captained Nepal in the Asian Games and besides became the first flag bearer from football for Nepal in the Asian Games.