Soccor Velho, an attacking midfielder with Air India and Maharashtra, died after a heart attack on Saturday evening. He was 29 and is survived by wife and a one-year-old daughter.
Velho had returned home after playing an afternoon friendly against India U-19 boys. He complained of uneasiness and breathlessness late in the evening. He was immediately shifted to hospital where he was declared brought dead.
“He showed no signs of discomfort during the match and had trained in the morning too. Who would have thought this would happen,” said an official of the Goa Football Association speaking on condition of anonymity.
Velho, who hails from the Nuvem village in Goa, had returned home in the football off-season.
“Velho was a good player. He had a lot of speed and at the same time was versatile. A striker but Velho could also play in the right half, he was very strong in that region,” said former Air India coach Bimal Ghosh.
“Off the field as well he was a very good person,” he said. Velho joined Air India in 2006 initially on loan from Mumbai's Central Railway team before signing for them in 2008-09.
His first I-League goal came in his second game, at Barasat stadium against Mohun Bagan.
He played the 2009 IFA Shield semi-final between Air India and Churchill Brothers on September 9, the first official match on the artificial turf of Salt Lake stadium.
He also played for Maharashtra in the 2005 Santosh Trophy final losing to Goa.
“I met him a few days back and he was fine, it is very unfortunate. He was a key player in the Maharasthra side when he made the team in 2005. He was raw and needed a lot of training. He was very skilled as a midfielder and a striker,” said Velho’s Maharashtra coach Irenio Vaz.