Lost Hero Dr Talimeren Ao: India’s First Football Captain

Posted on September 9, 2012


(Copyright: www.barefootmag.in)

One of the pioneers of the Indian Football, Dr. Talimeren Ao is probably also the most little talked about footballer. For those who haven’t heard about him, he was the captain of the Indian Football Team in their first official match in 1948 London Olympics. This ace footballer from the North East, also played for Mohan Bagan between 1943 and 1942. He was also the part of the 1950 World Cup team, who was barred from entering the tournament just because they played barefooted. Thus, in spite of being such an important part of the Indian Football history, his name has somewhat disappeared amongst the present Footballing generation.

Born in the year 1918 in a Naga village at Chanki, Assam (now Nagaland) Dr. Ao was the son of Subongwati Ao and Deikim Doungel. He completed his schooling from Impur Christian School and he was the captain of his school’s football team. He was awarded the “Best Footballer” title in the All Assam Inter School Football Championship, 1937.  He passed out from Cotton College, Guwahati and later went to study medical from R.G Kar Medical College, Kolkata.  Dr Ao played for Mohan Bagan in the 1950 Durand Cup final against Hyderabad Police, where he displayed his superb skills, but he switched teams when the Goalkeeper of the opponent team was injured and helped Hyderabad police draw the match, which they later won.  After his retirement from Mohan Bagan FC, he went back to Nagaland and became the director of Nagaland Health Service in 1978.

This is quite unfortunate that, though being such an important part of the Indian Football history, the contributions of Dr. Ao have not been recognized as of yet.  The reorganization which he deserved for being the first ever captain of the national team has been quite overshadowed. Though Mohun Bagan AC honored him with the Mohun Bagan Ratna Award in 2002 for his achievements, but this is surely not enough. A little initiative has definitely been taken in the North East to honor this great player. And in the 2009, Union minister for mines and DoNER B.K Handique inaugurated the first Dr. T. Ao Football Trophy at the DDSC Stadium in Dimapur, Nagaland, which is a major football event in the region now. But surely something needs to be done in the national level for him. The future of a particular sport is deeply associated with its history, as such the earliest contributors of Indian football must surely be remembered. Dr Ao, left for heavenly abode on 13th September 1998, in Kohima, Nagaland.  So it is definitely the ripe time prevent his name from being completely erased from the Football history of India .

Complete Profile of Dr  Talimeren Ao at a Glance:

Full Name  Dr. Talimeren Ao
Nick Name William
Height 5′ 10″
Born 28th January, 1918 ( fourth of eleven children )
Birth Place Changki Village,Mokokchung District,Nagaland
School He was the First Boy of Impur Christian School and Captain of School Football Team and in (1937 he was the Best Footballer of All Assam Inter School Football Championship) then Jorhat Christian Mission School and also he was the Captain of School Football Team.
College Cotton College of Guahati, Assam as a Science Student and also the Captain of College Football team.
Degree MBBS from R.G.Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata.(1950)
First Club  Maharana Club of Guahati,Assam.
Job In 1953, the Government posted him as Assistant Civil Surgeon, to Kohima Hospital, Nagaland. Dr.T.Ao rose to become the first Naga Director of Health Services. He held this post till his retirement in 1978.
Death 13th September 1998, in Kohima, Nagaland.
Wife  Deikim Doungel




Posted in: Featured