Full Name: Sailendra Nath Manna
Born: September 1, 1924, Batra, Howrah District, Bengal
Major Teams: Howrah Union, Mohun Bagan AC, India
Playing Position: Defender
Led India to the inaugural Asian Games gold in 1951
Led India to four successive titles in the South East Asian quadrangular meet
Sailendra Nath Manna, usually known as Sailen Manna has been an Indian Football player, and is famous as one of the best all time defenders of India. He has led the Indian Football team to various international Football tournaments of repute, and has been credited as one of the 10 Best Football Captains in the World by FIFA.
Early Life & Domestic Career
Manna was born on 1st of September 1924 at a place named Batra in West Bengal. He started playing Football at the tender age of 14 years, and joined the Howrah Union club in 1940 when he was 16 year old. He played for the Calcutta University in the Inter-University Football Tournament in the year 1941, and left the Howrah Union club in 1942 to join Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, one of the most famous Football clubs in the nation even today. Sailen continued to play for the green-and-maroon Mohun Bagan club for a long span of 19 years, and left the club only when he retired in the year 1960. During the tenure, he also served as the Captain of the club from the year 1950 to 1955. What is truly amazing is the fact that he didn’t take any sum from the club as a salary against playing for it, as he was always happy and content with the salary he used to receive from his employer, the Geological Survey of India. During his Captaincy, Mohun Bagan club was able to win Durand Cup 5 times and the IFA Shield 6 times. He also Captained the West Bengal Football team, and led the team to win the Quadrangular Championship 3 times in a row from the year 1952 to 1954.
Sailen Manna represented the Indian National Football team in the London Olympic Games 1948. In the tournament, Manna lost a penalty kick in a match against France and India lost the match by 1-2. All the members of Indian team were playing the match barefooted, which caught the attention of the west including Princess Margaret. He led the Indian Football team in the Helsinki Olympic Games 1952.
After his retirement from active Football, Sailen Manna was made a part of the administration of Mohun Bagan club. He began as a coach in the year 1961, then was promoted to the position of Football Secretary of the club, and finally was made the Assistant Secretary.
Sailen Manna was honored with the Padma Shri award in the year 1971, and was the 2nd Football player after Gostha Pal to receive this award. The England Football Association named him one of the best 10 Football Captains in the world in its Yearbook of 1953. Manna was conferred upon the Footballer of the Millennium award in 2000 by the All India Football Federation, and the Mohun Bagan Ratna award in 2001.