In shocking news, former East Bengal & Mohun Bagan defender R Dhanarajan has passed away after collapsing on the field of play during a 'Sevens' match in Kerala on Sunday night.
Dhanarajan was playing in an All India Sevens tournament at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district of Kerala when he suddenly collapsed after suffering loss of breath and chest pain.
The incident occured in the 27th minute of the match between FC Perinthalmanna and Sastha Thrissur. Though the 39-year-old was stretchered off and admitted to a hospital nearby (Moulana Hospital in Perinthalmanna), he could not be revived.
The sad news has sent shockwaves through the Kerala football circle where Dhanarajan is very well known and is widely considered to be one of the best defenders Kerala had produced in the 2000s.
Though he had retired from professional football a while back, he was a regular in the Sevens circuit in Kerala.
Dhanarajan, who hails from Palakkad in Kerala, gained recognition as a central defender during his time with Viva Kerala FC who once played in the I-League. He went on to play for a host of top clubs in India including Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
He was known for his leadership skills and was a regular member of Kerala's Santosh trophy teams. He was also part of the Mohammedan Sporting team that won the Durand Cup after 73 years, back in 2013, and has also captained the club.
Rest in peace, Dhanarajan!