Former India and Mohun Bagan player Manitombi passes away

Manitombi was a key member of the Stephen Constantine-coached India U-23 side that lifted the LG Cup in 2003 by defeating Vietnam 3-2 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Manitombi Singh

Former India defender Manitombi Singh passed away on Sunday.   -  TWITTER | AIFF

A pall of gloom descended on the football fraternity in Manipur as news of Laishram Manitombi Singh’s untimely death spread.

Manitombi was battling an illness for some time and breathed his last on Sunday at the age of 39.

The former India player, who had a distinguished career with some of the top clubs of the country, had taken to coaching in his native state after hanging his boots.

“He was a fantastic human being and it feels very sad to hear about the news of his death at such an early age. We played together both for India and Mohun Bagan and I have a lot of nice memories to cherish,” former India captain Renedy Singh said about his friend and colleague.

Manitombi played as a side-back and represented India in two significant tournaments in 2002. He was part of the team that won the LG Cup in Vietnam under the captaincy of Bhaichung Bhutia. He also donned the Indian colours at the Busan Asian Games later in the year.

Manitombi played a key role in Manipur’s maiden Santosh Trophy title win in 2002. After stints with Air India and Salgaocar SC, his club career reached its peak with Mohun Bagan, where he led the team to the prestigious All Airlines Gold Cup.

“After retirement, he was coaching different academies and teams in and around Imphal. I know he underwent a prolonged treatment that drained a lot of his funds. He has an eight-year-old son and his family will be facing a lot of hardships in his absence,” Renedy, who is the president of the Football Players’ Association of India, said. “We will be organising a benefit match for his family after the restrictions are lifted. The football fraternity is very close-knit in Manipur and we always come together to help someone among us who has fallen on hard times,” Renedy added.

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