Indian football mourns loss of former Blue Tigers skipper Carlton Chapman
Former Indian senior national team captain Carlton Chapman passed away on Monday, aged 49. During his time with the Blue Tigers, Carlton scored six goals for the Indian team in 39 matches and captained them to the SAFF Championship trophy in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1997. He was also part of the India team that won the SAF Games in 1995, the Nehru Cup in 1997 and the SAFF Championship in 1999.
Carlton began his career with the famous Tata Football Academy in 1991 before joining East Bengal FC two years later. During his time with the Kolkata giants, he played in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Iraqi club Al Zawra at the Salt Lake Stadium in 1993.
He moved to JCT Mills in 1995 and was an integral part of their maiden National Football League (NFL) winning campaign in 1997 under the tutelage of Sukhwinder Singh. Carlton was also part of the treble-winning JCT side which won the Federation Cup, IFA Shield and Durand Cup in 1996.
A few of his other achievements during his time with East Bengal, included Carlton winning the Calcutta Premier League four times, the IFA Shield twice, as well as the Durand Cup, Rovers Cup, and Kalinga Cup once each in addition to the National Football League in 2001. He also won the Santosh Trophy thrice with Bengal and scored the first-ever golden goal in the history of the tournament, which came against Goa in 1995.
As a coach, he started at the Tata Football Academy in 2002, before coaching the likes of Royal Wahingdoh, Bhawanipore FC, Student's Union FC and Sudeva FC. Most recently, he was appointed as the Technical Director of Quartz FC, a club based in Kozhikode.
“It’s sad to hear that Carlton Chapman is no more. His contribution to Indian football will never be forgotten. I share the grief,” said Mr. Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation (AIFF).
He was joined by the AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das, who said, “Chapman was a gifted player. He even inspired so many youngsters through his coaching. May his soul rest in peace.”
Former teammates of Carlton shared their condolences for the former Indian skipper as well. “He was like a younger brother to me. We were practically family. This is not an easy loss to take,” said IM Vijayan, who played with the former midfielder for India as well as at JCT.
He added, “He was a really nice person, both on and off the pitch. Generally, things do get heated at times when you are on the pitch as a footballer, but I do not remember him ever getting angry at anyone.”
Bruno Coutinho, under whose captaincy Carlton made his national team debut, also expressed his grief. “I was shocked to hear such sad news early in the morning when I got a message of his passing away from a mutual friend. This is indeed a great loss for us all. He had been coaching for a long time after he was done with his playing career, and was bringing through some talented players,” Coutinho said.
The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) condoles the passing of the Indian football legend.