Indian football team at the Asian Games: 1954 Manila
Sportskeeda continues this new series by looking back at India’s performance in the 1954 edition.
Goalkeepers: Sanat Sett (Bengal), Sanjeeva K. Uchil (Bombay).
Defenders: Syed Khwaja Azizuddin (Hyderabad City Police), Sailendra Nath Manna (Mohun Bagan AC - CAPTAIN), T.M. Varghese [alias Papen] (Bombay), Anthony Patrick (Hyderabad City Police).
Midfielders: Noor Mohammed (Hyderabad City Police), Chandan Singh Rawat (Bengal), Amal Datta (Bengal), G.R. Gokul (Bengal).
Forwards: S.K. Moinuddin (Hyderabad City Police), M. Ahmed Khan (Hyderabad), Joe D'Sa (Bombay), J. Kittu (Bengal), Anthony Braganza (Bombay), Muthu Jayaram (Services), Thangarajan (Madras).
Coach: Balaidas Chatterjee (Bengal); Manager: Bhairab Chandra Mohanty (Orissa).
12 nations participated in the second edition which was held over eight days in two stadiums of Manila, Philippines with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also formed on the sidelines of the competition. This time each match comprised of two halves of 40 minutes. The participants were divided into four groups of three with each group winner qualifying for the semi-finals.
India were the defending champions but had suffered an embarrassing 10-1 defeat against Yugoslavia in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. They somewhat recovered by winning the quadrangular tournament in Yangon in 1953 with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Burma being the participants.
The holders were handed a tricky group alongside Japan and Indonesia but they got off to the best possible start as they defeated Japan 3-2 with SK Moinuddin bagging a brace. India needed to beat Indonesia in the final group game to progress to the semis but were thrashed 4-0, in what proved to be their first-ever loss at the Asian Games. India were eliminated after being second in the group while Indonesia progressed as group winners and went on to finish fourth.
Novy Kapadia’s Insight
The football matches in the 1954 Asian Games in Manila were held in floodlights and Indian players were not used to playing in floodlights. They were also being held in May and it was the end of the season in India so players were fatigued. Against Japan, India led 2-0 with both goals by Moinuddin. But we got out of breath in the second half as Japan made it 2-2 but still somehow managed to win 3-2. False complacency and a lack of stamina led to defeat against Indonesia and an early exit.
May 3 1954: India 3-2 Japan
Indian scorers: SK Moinuddin 6’, 28’ Joe D'Sa 42’
May 5 1954: India 0-4 Indonesia
Final position: Eliminated at the group stage