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Pakistan’s former football captain expires

May 13, 2003

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KARACHI, May 12: A veteran Pakistani footballer who played for an Indian club and was revered on both sides of the subcontinent passed away at the weekend, his family announced on Monday.

Musa Ghazi, 75, a former Pakistani captain, played for Kolkata’s Muhammadan Club in the 1940s and 1950s. He had migrated to Pakistan from India during the 1947 partition of South Asia. He died on Sunday night at his home here in Karachi.

The left winger was offered Indian nationality in the 1950s but opted to stay in Pakistan, his brother Abid Ghazi said.

As a sportsman who straddled the decades-old tensions between the neighbours over Kashmir, he had been thrilled by the recent mutual peace overtures — not least the vow to revive severed sporting ties.

“Ghazi was an ambassador for both Pakistan and India. He was very happy when he was told that both countries are heading towards normalisation of relations,” Abid said.

Players from Pakistan regularly featured in Indian league football until the second of their three wars in 1965 brought a closure to the exchanges.

Ghazi led Pakistan to a top three Asian ranking in the late 1950s and 1960s. It has since fallen to number 50 among Asia’s 60 football countries.—AFP