With the ISL now reaching the business end of the competition and Kerala Blasters still in the race for their maiden ISL title, what is intriguing is to see how it has aroused the energies of a state that prides itself in it’s footballing tradition and riches. Lets pick one player from that – VP Sathyan, former Indian captain and a defensive midfielder par excellence.
Sathyan was part of a formidable Kerala police team in the late 80s and early 90s. This team that included the likes of Sharaf Ali, CV Pappachan, IM Vijayan, Kurikesh Mathew, KT Chacko etc formed a great combination and won many titles for the Kerala police team, thus warming the hearts of millions of supporters of Kerala football across the globe. This included two Federation cups in 1989-90 and 1990-91. The sublime football played by this side (world class, on occasions!) will still be fondly remembered by many generations of soccer fans in Kerala. They were also instrumental in Kerala winning the Santosh trophy in the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons!!
Sathyan and Vijayan went to seek greener pastures in the lucrative Bengal clubs of the time and achieved fairly good success there as well. After his brief but successful stint in Mohun Bagan, Sathyan came back to Kerala Police and joined Indian Bank after that.
Sathyan also became the captain of the Indian football team in 1991. He captained the India side for 10 matches and led the team that won the gold medal in 1995 SAFF Games. Sathyan played 80 matches for the national team and also participated in 15 editions of the Santosh Trophy. After his playing career was over, he tried his hand at coaching as well! Unfortunately, the talismanic footballer decided to take his own life in July 2006 and it brought the curtains to the life of one of the best footballers India has ever produced! A rather sad end – how much of it is attributed to his financial problems and the disillusionment he had with the footballing authorities is a topic much discussed!
The legacy of Sathyan still lives on! Now the news is that a full fledged Malayalam sports biopic movie is being made based on his life and Jayasurya will be playing the lead role as Sathyan. The movie has been titled as Captain and will be one of the most awaited releases of 2017!
Long live the legend of Sathyan and the Kerala police team of the 90s!!!