Will Sathyan be honoured with Arjuna, posthumously?
By Vishnu Prasad / ENS - KOZHIKODE
05th August 2012 11:01 AM
When this year’s Arjuna Awards are announced, it will mark the culmination of one woman’s long fight to get her husband the honour that he deserves.
And as the D-day approaches, Anitha Sathyan is praying that her journey culminates in the resurrection of her legendary husband’s memory.
As he hung up his boots, VP Sathyan may have been under the impression that he had done enough to be remembered forever as one of the icons of Indian football. And rather justifiably so. Sathyan was the captain of the Indian team during one of its most successful periods when the team, that now occupies an inconsequential spot in the FIFA rankings table, was ranked as one of the top 100 teams in the world. He had led the team to a gold medal in the 1995
SAF games and had donned the jerseys of some of the leading clubs of the time including Mohan Bagan and Kerala Police.
And the highest point of his career came when he was adjudged the AIFF Player of the Year in 1995.
And if his playing record was not enough, Sathyan was one of the most promising young coaches in the country, having led little known Indian Bank to the First Division and ascending to be the Indian assistant coach within just an yearof retiring as a player. But just six years after his unfortunate death, his widow has to fight tooth and nail just to keep his memory alive.
“He was one of the best players to ever don an Indian jersey and captained the country in more than 10 games. He does not deserve to be forgotten like this,” she says.
It was this goal that sparked Anitha Sathyan’s mission to get her husband an award that he richly deserved but never got - the Arjuna.
“All these years, nobody has ever disputed the fact that Sathyan deserves an Arjuna. Earlier, I was under the impression that the Arjuna would not be awarded posthumously but then I learned that there was a provision to do so. It was then that I made my mind to try get him one,” says Anitha.
Her efforts were encouraged by former players and politicians alike and Sathyan’s name figured in the shortlist of potential awardees announced by the central government last month.
And while sportsmen from the state are no strangers to being on the shortlist and missing out on the award, Anitha is dreading the repeat of history.
“As far as Sathyan is concerned, it is now or never for him. With each passing moment, the more distant he is becoming to most. There is not going to be enthusiasm of this sort from everybody else next time,” she says.
But one thing Anitha guarantees is that just as her husband did on most occasions, she is going to fight out the whole 90 minutes.
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