Sports fraternity pays tribute to Mani B Shah

Kathmandu, May 15

The sports fraternity today paid tribute to legendary football player Mani Bikram Shah, who passed away yesterday at the age of 51.

Shah, popularly known as Nepali Maradona in football fraternity, breathed his last on Monday evening at the Norvic International Hospital. Shah, who had been suffering from liver problems for a long time, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday. Shah’s body was kept at the Dasharath Stadium where political leaders and sports personalities paid last tribute before he was cremated at Pashupati Aryaghat. He is survived by wife and a son.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and leaders Prakash Man Singh and Gagan Thapa, CPN UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bahadur Sunar, CNN Hero Anuradha Koirala, National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista, Nepal Olympic Committee General Secretary Lama Tendi Sherpa, All Nepal Football Association President Karma Tsering Sherpa and other officials, former ANFA President Ganesh Thapa, football players and athletes among other sports personalities paid homage to Shah.

Similarly, former national team skipper Anil Gurung said Shah was the idol for him. “Mani sir was the best footballer and he is my idol. I followed him since my childhood and I was impressed with his style of play. He used to teach me in every game I played at the Dasharath Stadium. I was shocked when I heard that he was no more,” said Gurung, the former MMC skipper.

Legendary footballer Bhim Thapa said Shah was a star player in South Asia, not only Nepal. “Shah had inborn talent and coaches just showed him the way. I have watched him play closely and he Shah was South Asian super star,” said Thapa.

Likewise, Shah’s room partner in international events, goalkeeper Ajar Manandhar was emotional and could not stop tears from his eyes. “We played together at national team, age-group and MMC and we used to stay in the same room. For me, losing Mani Shah is like losing one of my body parts,” he added.

Former national team skipper Hari Khadka described Shah as an extraordinary player. “Nepal did not have a player of that caliber before him and I doubt there will be any in future,” said Khadka.