Iran Coach: Hossein Sediyaghni
India Coach: Seyed Abdul Rahim
When New Delhi hosted the inaugural Asiad in 1951, expectations were at an all time high. Indian football was just entering its golden age and there was unparalleled public support. India defeated Indonesia and Afghanistan on its way to final. On 10th March, 1951, a capacity crowd thronged the National stadium. The eager spectators included Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. India had dominated each of its opponents before but struggled against the physically robust Iranians in the final. The Iranians wore boots and had an obvious advantage against the barefooted Indians.
Indian attackers were disappointing in first half, with only Ahmed Khan doing some damage. It was the backline which was exceptional with Sailen Manna and Chandan Singh creating an impenetrable wall. Custodian BK Anthony was in inspirational form. His opposite number in the Iranian goal – Agha Husseini was also proving to be unbeatable. After a goal-less halftime, Nehru visited the player’s dressing room, and asked for the gold medal as a present for the newly formed nation. An inspired Indian team played much better in 2nd half.
On the 49th minute mark, the deadlock was finally broken! Right inside forward Runu Guha Thakurata cut back from the wings and launched an inch perfect cross towards Sahu Mewalal. Mewalal jumped and shot an unexpected volley, giving no chance to Iran ‘keeper. India had scored – the capacity crowd broke into raptures.
B. Anthony (Bengal), K.L. Varadaraj (Mysore), Sailen Manna (Mohun Bagan, Bengal), Syed Khwaja Azizuddin (Hyderabad City Police), T.M. Varghese [alias Papen] (Bombay), Sunil Chatterjee (Bengal). Abdul Latif (Mohammedan Sporting, Bengal), Chandan Singh (Services), Abhoy Ghosh (Bengal), D.N. Jones (Services), T. Shanmugham (Mysore), Noor Mohammed (Hyderabad City Police), P. Venkatesh (East Bengal, Bengal), M.A. Sattar (Bengal), P.B.A. Saleh (Bengal), G.Y.S. Laiq (Hyderabad), Loganathan (Madras), A.M. Bachan (Orissa), Runu Guha Thakurta (Bengal), Sahu Mewalal (Bengal), Santosh Nandy (Bengal), M. Ahmed Khan (Bengal)