GUWAHATI, March 24 - Former international footballer and noted coach Abdul Latif (72) breathed his last at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital last night after a massive heart attack. His health was not sound for the last few months.
Originally hailing from Bengaluru, Latif settled at the Ulubari area here in mid 1970s and since then served the State as a quality football coach.
A member of the bronze medal winning Indian football team in the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games, Latif had a long stint in the Calcutta Maidan with the Mohammedan Sporting Club during late 1960s till mid 1970s. After hanging his boots he completed NIS coaching course and rendered his service in Assam.
Representing Mohammedan Sporting, Latif played in the Bordoloi Trophy on several occasions during the 1960s and also won the trophy.
He played a vital role in upgrading the standard of Assam football. He was the chief coach of the Assam sub-junior football team which became national champions on three consecutive occasions in 1979 (Guwahati), 1980 (Calcutta, now Kolkata) and 1981 (Madras, now Chennai).
Latif produced some fine footballers in Assam who later went on to represent the Indian school and Indian junior teams. He also coached the Assam school football team which won the title on a couple of occasions in the National School Games Football Championship of School Games Federation of India. Under his coaching the Kokrajhar Government Higher Secondary School played the final twice in Subroto Cup.
Latif�s death was widely mourned by the sporting fraternity and organisations of the State. Organisations like All Assam Students Union, Assam Olympic Association, All Guwahati Students Union, Assam Cricket Association, Assam Football Association, Guwahati Sports Association, Assam Sports Journalists Association, Assam Table Tennis Association, Assam Sepak Takraw Association, Veteran Cricket Association of Assam, Young Star Football Coaching Centre, individuals like Rajib Prakash Baruah, Tayabun Nesha, among others condoled the demise.
A good number of former State footballers attended his last rites in the Ulubari burial ground today. The Assam Government has given a State Honour to the former international footballer. On behalf of the State Government, DC Kamrup (M) Biswajit Pegu placed a floral wreath on Latif�s body before the last rites.
He leaves behind his wife and two daughters.