AIFF & KSFA Media
The star keeper of the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games Bronze-winning Indian Football team Kuppuswamy Sampath passed away yesterday in Bengaluru. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Born on September 15, 1947, the former India custodian had represented the country in 18 matches, which included the 1970 and 1972 Merdeka Cup, the 1970 Asian Games, and the 1971 Pesta Sukan Cup.
His international career was one strewn with accolades. Apart from the Asian Games when India won the bronze medal, Sampath was also a part of the India team that ended third in the 1970 Merdeka Cup and joint champions of the 1971 Pesta Sukan Cup in Singapore.
In the 1970 Asian Games, the two coaches, GMH Basha and PK Banerjee, had so much faith in him that Sampath was one of the few players in the squad, who figured in all the six matches India played in a span of 11 days. His teammates still recall how Sampath flew like a bird to the far post to save a powerful shot from famed Japan striker Kunishige Kamamoto during the closing stages of the Bronze Medal match. India eventually won the match by a solitary goal.
At the domestic level, Sampath had represented Services (1970-73) and Goa (1974-78) in the Santosh Trophy.
He had also played for the Madras Engineering Group from 1960 to 1972, and for Dempo SC from 1973 to 1978. It was at the latter club where he won the Rovers Cup in 1974 and 1978.