Shock, disbelief among mates

“This is just so tragic, we cannot believe it. He had got an injury (cracked shin bone) a couple of days earlier during practice. So he was out for a few days. Then suddenly when I heard about this, I just could not believe it,” HASC captain J Murali told Deccan Herald.

“I don’t know what happened, but this is a huge blow for the entire team. He was such a nice guy and from a poor family. As far as I know, he was the sole earning member in his family. From that perspective, it is even more tragic,” he added.

Fellow goalkeeper P Pramod was also left shell-shocked. “It is just tremendously sad. I still remember, he just wanted to get out of hospital and get back to playing after he got injured the other day. It is just hard to believe that such a thing has happened.

“I know him well as he played with Viva Kerala last year and he was my back-up this year. It is just so sad and hard to swallow,” he added.

“I am still in utter shock,” HASC defender Joseph Femi said, disbelief clear in his voice. “I keep remembering our last practice together and how we were having such a good time. All the laughter and jokes. It is so vivid in my memory. To think that he is gone and we can never have such moments is unbelievable.

“What we as a team need to do now is get together and play for Arun. The next few matches will be in his memory. We need to make sure we do it not just half-heartedly but go all out and do well in the rest of our matches and dedicate them to our team-mate,” the Nigerian added.

Xavier Vijay Kumar has been ever present in the HASC ranks for several years now and he, like many others, was left speechless after the news.

“I heard he just suddenly collapsed. He was fine a few days ago, after he got treatment for the shin injury. Then for this to happen suddenly is hard for all of us to digest. The whole team is pretty depressed right now,” Xavier said.


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