Sailen Manna

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Sailen Manna
Sailen Manna.jpg
Personal information
Full name Sailendranath Manna
Date of birth (1924-09-01)1 September 1924
Place of birth Howrah, Bengal, India
Date of death 27 February 2012(2012-02-27) (aged 87)
Place of death Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1940–1942 Howrah Union
1942–1960 Mohun Bagan
National team
1948–1956[1] India 14[1]
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Sailendra Nath Manna (1 September 1924 – 27 February 2012), known popularly as Sailen Manna, was an Indian international footballer and is considered to be one of the best defenders India has ever produced.[2] He has represented and captained India in different international competitions including Olympics and Asian Games. He also has a record of playing for Mohun Bagan, one of the best clubs in India, for a continuous period of 19 years.[3] He is the only Asian Footballer ever to be named among the 10 best Captains in the world by the English FA in 1953.[4]


He graduated from the Surendranath College, an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta. He worked for the Geological Survey of India.[5]

Club career[edit]

Manna started his playing career for Howrah Union, then a club in the 2nd Division Kolkata Football League, in 1940.[3][6] After turning out for the club for a couple of seasons, he joined Mohun Bagan in 1942 and continued playing for the club till his retirement in 1960. Between 1950 and 1955, he featured as the club's captain.[3] During his 19-year association with the club as player, he reportedly earned only 19.[7] Speaking to Sportstar in 2006, he reasoned that he "played out of love for the sport and was happy with the salary I got from my employer, the Geological Survey of India."[8]

As a defender, he was known for his anticipation, covering and a strong free kick.[7]

International career[edit]

Sailen Manna was a part of the Indian Football Team for the 1948 London Olympics, where Indian lost to France by a margin of 1-2.[7] Under Manna's captaincy, India won the Gold Medal in the 1951 Asian Games and also won the Quandrangular Tournament for four consecutive years from 1952 to 1956.[3] In 1953, the England Football Association rated him among the 10 best skippers of the world in its yearbook.[4] Manna was also the captain of the Indian team in 1952 Olympics[9] and a member of the 1954 Asian Games. He used to keep a picture of Goddess Kali, barefoot conqueror of demons, tucked away in his pocket. Two of his greatest regret in life are – (1) missing the first penalty kick against France in the London Olympics, and turning down the chance of taking the second penalty because he was afraid of missing again, (2) India had not gone to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, with him as captain, because the Indian Football Federation had not realized its importance. [10]

Honours and awards[edit]

  1. Included in the list of the 10 best Captains of the world by English FA in 1953.[4]
  2. Awarded the Padma Shri in 1971 by the Government of India.[3]
  3. Awarded the "Footballer of the Millennium" by All India Football Federation in 2000.[11]
  4. Awarded "Mohun Bagan Ratna" in 2001.[12]


After being unwell for quite some time, Manna died at a private hospital in Kolkata on Monday, 27 February 2012. He was 87 years old and was survived by his wife and daughter.[13]


  1. ^ a b Padmashree Sailendranath Manna Archived 28 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Calcuttaweb - Sports Personality : Sailen Manna Archived 21 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e Indian Legendary Football Players Profile Archived 14 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c India's greatest footballer
  5. ^ "Sailen Manna". The Economist. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  6. ^ Sailendra Nath Manna
  7. ^ a b c Harmony Archived 15 August 2007 at
  8. ^ "India's greatest footballer". Sportstar. April 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Sailen Manna Olympic Results". Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  10. ^ Sailen Manna,The Economist
  11. ^ The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Sport Tribune
  12. ^ "Manna conferred Mohun Bagan Ratna Award-The Times of India". Archived from the original on 27 March 2008.
  13. ^ Manna, Sailen; Press Trust of India. "Soccer legend Sailen Manna passes away". Tribute to Sailen Manna. Retrieved 27 February 2012.

External links[edit]