Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has sent his condolences to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and to the family and loved ones of former Indian midfielder Fortunato Franco, who passed away at the age of 84 on Monday.
Widely regarded as a legend of Indian football, Franco was part of the 1960 Rome Olympics squad, but his finest hour arrived two years later when India defeated Korea Republic to clinch the 1962 Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta.
He also featured for the Blue Tigers when they finished runners-up at the AFC Asian Cup in 1964 and played a pivotal part in India’s silver and bronze medal triumphs at the 1964 and 1965 editions of the Merdeka Cup.
The AFC President said: “On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, please accept my deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of Fortunato Franco.
“He was a true legend of the game, whose valuable contributions formed the cornerstone of Indian football and served as an inspiration to so many of today’s generation of players and fans. We have lost a remarkable icon and will forever cherish his passion and dedication towards Indian and Asian football,” added Shaikh Salman.
Franco also enjoyed a distinguished career for Tata Football Club in Mumbai and captained the Maharashtra state for eight successive years between 1959 and 1966 in the Santosh Trophy and was instrumental in their 1964 title triumph.
The thoughts and prayers of the AFC and the rest of the Asian football community are with the loved ones and friends of Franco, the AIFF and the Indian football family during this difficult time.