Olympian footballer Kempaiah passes away

July 3rd, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Former India footballer Mariappa Kempaiah, who played in the 1956 and the 1960 Olympics, passed away in Bangalore, Wednesday. He was 75 and is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters.

Kempaiah, a competent midfielder, played a crucial role in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where India finished fourth, losing to Bulgaria in the play-off for third place. He was also in the 1960 Rome Olympic squad, where India again finished fourth, India’s best-ever showing at the quadrennial event.

Kempaiah came into prominence while playing for Bangalore Muslims during the 1950s and played for erstwhile Mysore in the national football championship for Santosh Trophy.

In 1956, he moved to Calcutta and played for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan till 1964 with distinction. He played alongside great players like Jarnail Singh, Arun Ghosh, Chuni Goswami, P.K. Banerjee, Balaram, Kannan, Abdul Rehman and Syed Azizuddin.

He also played in the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games, where India lost to Indonesia 1-4 in a play-off for third place and was also a part of the silver medal winning 1959 Merdeka Cup team.

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