Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has laid the foundation stone of Dr T Ao Regional Football Academy at Dimapur, the hilly state’s capital.Dr Ao, an MBBS from Kolkata’s RG Kar Medical College, had captained Kolkata based Mohun Bagan AC from 1943 to 1952 and also captained India in some international games.
The foundation stone laying ceremony of the football academy is a historic occasion, the Chief Minister said: “Born among Nagas, he (Dr T Ao) brought laurels not only to his family but to the whole Nagas, so his legacy should live on.” Rio maintained. Dr Talimeran Ao, the legendary sports persona was the first captain of Independent India’s Olympic Football team. He was born in the Naga village of Chanki, Assam (now in Nagaland) in 1919. Son of Rev. Subongwati Ao, Dr Talimeran, started playing football from his school days. He completed his schooling from Impur Christian School and he was the captain of his school’s football team. He was awarded the “Best Footballer” title in the All Assam Inter School Football Championship, 1937. He was appointed as the captain of his college football team in Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam.Dr Talimeran Ao joined Mohun Bagan AC and stayed as a captain of the same team for nine years.
Dr Talimeran Ao performed superbly in the Durand Cup final,1950 played between Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad Police. In 1951, he played against some foreign teams including The Philippines, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma and Japan.Talimeran Ao studied medicines at RG Kar Medical College in Kolkata and obtaining MBBS, came back to his native state in 1963 where he was posted as Assistant Civil Surgeon. He later became Civil Surgeon and was promoted as Director of Nagaland Health Services till his superannuation in 1978.Besides awarding Mohun Bagan Ratna Award it also honoured him by giving him Life Membership. An outdoor stadium at Kaliabor and an indoor stadium at Cotton College in Assam have been named after the legendary footballer .In 2009,then Union Minister for Mines and DoNER, B.K Handique, inaugurated the first Dr. T. Ao Football Trophy at the DDSC Stadium in Dimapur to encourage sports and academics among the youngsters.
He was promoted as the Director of Nagaland Health Service in 1978 and contributes immensely to the promotion of sports in North-Eastern region till he passed away in 1998 aged 80 .
CM Rio said that the state government would request Union Ministry for Youth and Sports for help as the football academy would require investment of more than Rs 100 crore. Advisor, Youth Resources and Sports, Nagaland, Zale Neikha, said that People’s Democratic Alliance Government has come out with a policy to give appointment to sportspersons in different departments under the spots quota.