Sailendra Nath Manna was born on 1st of September 1924 at a place named Batra in West Bengal. He started playing Football at the tender age of 14 years, and joined the Howrah Union club in 1940 when he was 16 years old. He played for the Calcutta University in the Inter-University Football Tournament in the year 1941, and left the Howrah Union club in 1942 to join Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, one of the most famous Football clubs in the nation even today.
Sailen continued to play for the green-and-maroon Mohun Bagan club for a long span of 19 years, and left the club only when he retired in the year 1960. During the tenure, he also served as the Captain of the club from the year 1950 to 1955. What is truly amazing is the fact that he didn’t take any sum from the club as a salary against playing for it, as he was always happy and content with the salary he used to receive from his employer, the Geological Survey of India. During his Captaincy, Mohun Bagan club was able to win Durand Cup 5 times and the IFA Shield 6 times. He also Captained the West Bengal Football team, and led the team to win the Quadrangular Championship 3 times in a row from the year 1952 to 1954.
Sailen Manna represented the Indian National Football team in the London Olympic Games 1948. In the tournament, Manna lost a penalty kick in a match against France and India lost the match by 1-2. All the members of the Indian team were playing the match barefooted, which caught the attention of the west including Princess Margaret. He led the Indian Football team in the Helsinki Olympic Games 1952.
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Manna started his playing career for Howrah Union, then a club in the 2nd Division Kolkata Football League, in 1940.
After turning out for the club for a couple of seasons, he joined Mohun Bagan in 1942 and continued playing for the club till his retirement in 1960.
Between 1950 and 1955, he featured as the club's captain.
During his 19 year association with the club as player, he reportedly earned only Rs/-19.
Sailen Manna was a part of the Indian Football Team for the 1948 London Olympics, where Indian lost to France by a margin of 1-2.
Under Manna's captaincy, India won the Gold Medal in the 1951 Asian Games and also won the Quadrangular Tournament for four consecutive years from 1952 to 1956.
In 1953, the England Football Association rated him among the 10 best skippers of the world in its yearbook.
Manna was also the captain of the Indian team in 1952 Olympics and a member of the 1954 Asian Games.
He used to keep a picture of Goddess Kali, barefoot conqueror of demons, tucked away in his pocket.
Missing the first penalty kick against France in the London Olympics and turning down the chance of taking the second penalty because he was afraid of missing again is one of the his greatest regret in life.
India had not gone to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, with him as captain, because the Indian Football Federation had not realized its importance, which is another regret in his life.
He was included in the list of the 10 best Captains of the world by the English FA in 1953.
Manna was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971 by the Government of India.
He was also awarded the "Footballer of the Millennium" by All India Football Federation in 2000.
Manna was awarded "Mohun Bagan Ratna" in 2001.
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Included in the list of the 10 best Captains of the world by English FA in 1953.
Awarded the Padma Shri in 1971 by the Government of India.
Awarded the "Footballer of the Millennium" by All India Football Federation in 2000.
Awarded "Mohun Bagan Ratna" in 2001.
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