Jummon Lusai was a man who had won many a battle during his illustrious hockey career. The full-back of the Bangladesh national hockey team of the 1980s had become such a powerful figure that he was drafted into the World XI for an exhibition match against the then world champions Pakistan in 1989. Jummon was the first Bangladeshi player to score a hattrick, during an Asia Cup match against Iran in 1989.
That glorious life came to an untimely end yesterday. Doctors at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University pronounced him dead at around 2:00pm yesterday as the life support system, which he was put on following a brain haemorrhage on Friday, could no more resuscitate the failing heart. Lusai was 59.
Many of his colleagues, admirers and well wishers rushed to the BSMMU on hearing the news. Everyone knew Jummon was battling against the odds -- his brain, lungs and liver had been affected severely -- yet everyone was hoping against hope that this battler would make a miraculous comeback.
“We were footballers and he (Jummon) was a hockey player. Yet, he was a hero in our eyes. We never thought he would leave us so soon,” star footballer of the 80s, Ashrafuddin Ahmed Chunnu, recalled the late icon.
The fifth son of a Marma family of Sylhet, Jummon took to hockey watching his father Harenga Lusai play for the Bangladesh Police team. Coming from a sporting family where all the members were involved with one sport or the other, Jummon had surpassed all. He started his career with Police team in 1978 before starting a life-long relationship Abahani.
As a national player, Jummon had represented Bangladesh for close to a decade, and participated in two different Asia Cup and Asian Games campaigns. After hanging up his national jersey in 1989, Jummon continued to play for Abahani before finally ending his career in 1995. By then he had become an integral member of the Abahani family, extending the tie either as coach or part of the coaching staff. He loved the club so much that he lived permanently at the club tent while his own family migrated to Mizoram in India.
An unassuming man for life, Jummon received little in recognition for his service to the nation. Only lately that authorities felt the need to recognise Jummon's services. Jummon was selected to light the torch during the opening of the 8th Bangladesh Games in 2013. He was nominated for the national sports award in 2011, even though that award is be presented.