Carrying forward a legend's golden legacy

Carrying forward a legend's golden legacy

Inspiring generations

Carrying forward a legend's golden legacy

As soon as you enter Murphy Town, it’s hard to miss the banner which is about one-and-a-half-times bigger than the length of a cricket pitch, announcing the tribute match for legendary footballer and Olympian T Shanmugam, who passed away in late 2012.

Agniputra faced Cox Town in the final of the gold cup football tournament that has been instituted in memory of Shanmugam at the BR Ambedkar ground on Sunday, and for the record Agniputra won the trophy winning the final match 3-2. 

But the occasion was not merely about the result as scenes before the final reminded everyone. The trophy paraded through the streets of Murphy Town with songs -- mainly Rajinikanth numbers -- blasting from the loud speakers, underlining the still fresh memory of the legendary footballer and the importance to maintain his legacy.
 However, the most poignant moment of the evening came when veterans of Salgaocar SC, a team which Shanmugam coached for 15 years from 1979, and the veterans of the Karnataka State team faced each other in an exhibition match that was won by the Goans 1-0.  One of the veterans of the Goan side, Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, who was the captain of Salgaocar when Shanmugan was head coach there, fondly remembers his mentor. 

“He always used to believe in short passes, and one of the most important things that he brought to Salgaocar was the importance of skills. He also brought with him a fierce motivation to win every game,” he remembered his coach fondly. 

Brahmanand, who served the Indian national side with distinction as a goalkeeper, also mentioned that Shanmugam, a midfielder in his playing days, upheld the value of discipline. “I first met him in 1977 in Bangalore and he was a very disciplined person and he took it upon himself to correct every individual – both on as well as off the field.”

In that sense, Shanmugam would have grimaced in disapproval when tempers flared up after a rough tackle during the match between Agniputra and Srirampura in the second final. Such was the ferocity of the squabble that two on-duty policemen even threatened to lathi-charge the players. 

But that odd frivolity apart, this rolling trophy has the potential to roll on for years, carrying with it the memories of Shanmugam.