Dhaka Abahani Limited coach and Shadhin Bangla football team member Amalesh Sen passed away in Dhaka Saturday evening. He was 74. He left behind his wife and two sons.
Since Abahani’s establishment in 1972 and till Saturday, Amalesh played for the Sky Blues and also coached the club. He was with the club during their Saturday's practice session at Abahani field, hours before his last breath. He was taken to the nearest Bangladesh Medical College and Hospital at around 6:30pm where the doctor declared him dead due to heart attack.
"I don't recall anyone among the coaches of Bangladesh who is more experienced than Amalesh. He was even my coach when I was an Abahani player. Even [Saturday] afternoon, we watched the team's practice session together. After the session he said he was not feeling well and we took him to the nearest hospital," said Abahani manager Satyajit Das Rupu.
Amalesh was one of the key midfielders of Shadhin Bangla which toured throughout India and played 16 friendly matches to raise international awareness and economic support for the 1971 liberation war. Zakaria Pintoo, captain of Shadhin Bangla, remembered Amalesh as a vital cog of the side.
"He was a very modest person. He was very helpful and supportive to his teammates. He was one of the best players at that time. His contribution will be remembered for a long time," said Pintoo to Dhaka Tribune.
When Abahani were formed a year after independence, he joined the club and spent the rest of his playing career in Dhanmondi. Former national footballer Golam Sarwar Tipu said Amalesh played for Bangladesh from 1975 to early 1978. He couldn't feature for the national team due to injury in 1973. Before the liberation war he played for different clubs, including Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited in 1970.
Amalesh continued his playing career with the club till the early 1980s before he began a new career as coach from 1986. He stayed at Abahani till the late 1990s before joining Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra for only two years. He returned to Abahani in 1999 and remained as the club's most experienced local coach till his death. His influence helped the Sky Blues to five professional league titles. Amalesh also served as the vice-president of the Bangladesh football coaches' association.