Former international footballer B. Devanand, a star of Kerala's maiden Santosh Trophy triumph in 1973, passed away at Tripunithura, in Kochi, on Tuesday. He was 71 and had been ailing for some time.
Devanand was a defender in the Indian team, led by Shabbir Ali, which shared the title with Iran in the 1974 Asian youth championship in Bangkok. That was probably India's last success at the continental level in football. He was once considered a lucky mascot for teams he played in.
And apart from Kerala's 1973 Santosh Trophy triumph, Devanand was also part of the Calicut University team that won the Ashutosh Mukherjee Trophy National varsities championship and the Kerala team that took the B.C. Roy Trophy in junior Nationals. That was the period when teams felt his presence brought them luck.
“We played together in the Indian team at the Asian youth championship and also in the 1973 Santosh Trophy,” said former international C.C. Jacob. “He later moved to Mumbai after joining Tata and also played Santosh Trophy for Maharashtra.”
Devanand, who hailed from Kannur, began as a forward but became a defender as Kannur's S.N. College, where he had sought admission, needed a defender. The tall and handsome player rose into prominence in that role, impressing all with his clean play.
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