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Former Santosh Trophy footballer dead, 2 injured after lightning strikes them in Jharkhand


Dhanbad, Oct 19: Former Santosh Trophy player Abhijit Ganguli died and two other football players were injured when lightning struck them during a daily practice session at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Dhanbad, Jharkhand on Saturday, police said.

Representational image

The 53-year-old Ganguli, football coach of the Dhanbad Railway Division was coaching boys and girls at the stadium when the rain started and lightning struck him and two other players -- current national player Ravi Lal Hembram and upcoming player Chandan Tudu at around 7.30 am, the police said.

While Hembram and Tudu recovered, Ganguli fell unconscious and was taken to the Patliputra Medical College Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead. Ganguli is survived by son Abhishek Ganguli, wife Mom Ganguli and mother, sources said. Ganguli had represented the united Bihar team in the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship in 1993 and was considered as one of the best defenders in the 1990s.

Later, he got a job in the railways and played in the Inter-Zonal Railway Championship for the Eastern Railway Football team for several years. Afer the creation of East Central Railway (ECR) Hajipur zone he became the football coach of the Dhanbad Railway Division.

Ganguli set up Birsa Munda Football Club to groom young talents and his team finished third in the district senior league championship this season. The Dhanbad Football Association Secretary, Faiyaz Ahmed, expressed grief and said the district lost a seasoned coach.

"He was a complete and dedicated footballer. He not only produced two national players, Ravilal Tudu and Sangita Kumari, but also made Dhanbad runner-up in Jharkhand inter- district championship," Faiyaz said.

4 dead, 19 injured: Air pollution triggers fatal lightening in Bengal

The District Sports Association (DCA) Secretary, Ranjit Kesri, also expressed sorrow and said the tragedy has come as a major jolt to the sports fraternity, especially football lovers of the state.

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