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Indian Football: Former Olympian Fortunato Franco passes away

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The midfielder was an integral part of the Indian football team which won the Gold medal at the 1962 Asian Games...

Former India international footballer Fortunato Franco breathed his last at the age of 84 on May 10 in Goa.

The Goan footballer was also an integral part of the Gold medal-winning Indian football team at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. He had played in the final match at Jakarta against South Korea and had provided the assist for Jarnail Singh's goal.

Born in 1937 in Colvale, Goa, Franco moved to Mumbai with his family at the age of 6. He represented Maharashtra and captained the state team in the Santosh Trophy and played for Western Railways and Tata Football Club in Mumbai. He also represented Goan football giants Salgaocar. The midfielder made his international debut at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Condoling the former India international's demise, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said, "It is devastating to hear that Mr. Fortunato Franco is no more. He was a member of the Indian Football’s golden generation who played a stellar role in India helping India win the Gold Medal in 1962 Asian Games. His contribution to Indian Football can never be forgotten. I share the grief.”

AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das said: “Mr. Fortunato Franco will be alive in his achievements. He played a massive role in India winning the Gold Medal in the 1962 Asian Games. He was a legendary footballer who has been an inspiration to so many generations. My condolences to his family. We pray for his soul to rest in peace.”

Franco's career was short-lived due to a knee injury he suffered in 1966. But before that, he had made more than 50 international appearances for the Indian team.

After retiring from football, Franco worked at the Tata Group serving the company as a senior manager in public relations. He retired from his service in 1999 and after that moved back to Goa.

Fortunato Franco's death is without doubt a great loss for the Indian football fraternity.

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