Fortunato Franco, who was a member of India’s 1962 Asian Games gold medalist football team, passed away on Monday, 10th May. He was 84 years old. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed his death but did not give a reason for it. Franco is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.
Franco played 26 matches for India including the 1962 Asian Cup in which India was runners-up. He was also a member of the team that won silver and bronze medals in the year 1964 and 1965 respectively in the Merdeka Cup.
He, however, did his best in the final of the 1962 Asian Games when India defeated South Korea 2–1. A resident of Goa, Franco played domestically for the Tata Football Club in Mumbai. AIFF President Praful Patel, General Secretary Kushal Das, and the Olympic Association of India (IOA) condoled his demise.
In a statement issued to the AIFF, Patel said, “It is very sad to hear that Franco is no more. He was a member of the golden generation of Indian football, who played a brilliant role in India winning the gold medal in 1962.”
AIFF General Secretary, Mr. Kushal Das said: “Mr. Fortunato Franco will be alive in his achievements. He played a massive role in India winning the Gold Medal in the 1962 Asian Games. He was a legendary footballer who has been an inspiration to so many generations. My condolences to his family. We pray for his soul to rest in peace.”
The IOA expressed grief over the demise, saying,“ The Indian Olympic Association mourns the demise of great footballer Franco, a former Olympian of the Indian team’s mid-point and a member of the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games gold medalist team. ‘