Hockey legend Mansoor Ahmed, whose desperate plea for Indian visa evoked hateful messages, finally dies

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Pakistan’s legendary hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed has died just days after he made a passionate plea to India to grant him a medical visa so that he could have his heart transplant done.

Mansoor Ahmed
File Photo: AFP

His death evoked angry reactions from fans who expressed their disgust over a legend being left to die for the want of decent medical treatment.

In an incredibly emotional video released from his hospital bed last month, Mansoor had said, “I may have broken a lot of Indian hearts on the field of play by beating India in the Indira Gandhi Cup (1989) and in other events but that was sport. Now I need a heart transplant in India and for that I need support from the Indian government.”

The legendary goalkeeper, who played 338 international matches for Pakistan and took part in three Olympics spanning from 1986 to 2000, went on to add, “Humanity is paramount and I too would be obliged if I get a visa and other help in India… We have had a great rivalry and sports have helped on a number of occasions so that should continue.”

49-year-old Mansoor was also the flag bearer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for his country before being adjudge the best goalkeeper by International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1994.

A day after his appeal, the Chennai Hockey Association had volunteered to help with leading surgeons in the Tamil Nadu capital confirming that they had been contacted by his doctors.

“They have sent me his medical records and have asked me to help. We are looking into it,” said senior heart transplant surgeon Dr K R Balakrishnan was quoted by Times of India.

Though Mansoor was also offered help by Pakistan, he had refused insisting that he expected to be saved only in India through a heart transplant. But, he didn’t get the visa in the end. What followed his video plea was hatred with nationalists on the both sides of the border. The messages posted in response to a dying sporting legend’s desperate plea showed just how cruel the society had become. Even fake stories were created to portray him a villain.

Hope those who vehemently opposed his plea for a visa must be rejoicing today. For, their wish to have one more innocent human being dead is granted. If this not sadism, then what is. So that’s what we have become, a sadist society, which draws pleasures from seeing people in pain.

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