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Bruno Coutinho – A football legend, hockey lover, Eminent athlete, and an ardent Kho Kho player

Bruno Coutinho was born on October 6, 1969 in Goa, one of the liveliest states of India. He was a master in the Indian sporting arena. Enjoy this Goa boy’s journey of sports and life.

Last updated: 22.05.2020
Bruno Coutinho | Sports Social Blog

Bruno Coutinho was born on October 6, 1969, in Goa, one of the liveliest states of India.

He once told me, “Football has given me everything. I’ve been fortunate to have been loved so much by the fans. But it’s also true that football is all that I’ve known. I cannot do without a ball at my feet.”

The now 50-year old legend breathes football and has had a picturesque career. One could say that his first love was hockey. He was also an excellent athlete and was passionate about kho kho. In the Nationals, he had represented the state in all the three sports. In Monte De Guirim, he was recognised by his coach Paul Raj at the age of 14 and learnt the art of shooting from Salvador Fernandes. He played his first game against the school rivals. He went on to score three goals and won the U17 Subroto Mukherjee Football tournament.

He represented India in 1987 in an international school tournament held at Brunei.  Later he joined Dempo in 1988 and Salgaocar in 1989. He made his debut at the International level in 1989-1990.

He played for the country in the President’s World Cup in 1989 in Dhaka. Bruno's association with Salgaocar was a golden journey. The team won the Federation Cup (1997), Taca Goa title (1989), Rovers Cup (1989, 1996) and the National Football League(1998). In the 5th National Football League, Salgaocar scored 23 goals and finished sixth. Bruno accounted for 7 out of the 23 goals. Coutinho was amazing in the finals. 

The Federation Cup Final saw Coutinho's famous 'finger on the lip' celebration that silenced the whole of Kolkata.  The match would be a magical game in history. Everyone expected East Bengal to be the champions, Bruno turned the tables with two spectacular goals and the rest is history.

He then led the Indian U23 team for the Pre Olympics tie in 1991. Coutinho often dropped deep and played as a midfielder and was a dead-ball expert. He also captained India in 1995-1996 for the SAF Games and Asia Cup. In the SAFF championships, in 1999 he led the country to victory and it could be counted as the memorable hours of his football journey. He last played for the Indian Team in 2001. He retired on July 1, 2004.

With long curly hair, fierce techniques, amazing goals, whoever watched him play fell in love with him and his goals. His matches were a feast to watch.

“He always led by example. As a footballer, he was cunning and had a wonderful knack of handling pressure situations. No wonder he was the most reliable captain of our times. It’s hard to believe that he is younger than IM Vijayan. It was a pleasure to share the same dressing room with him,” says Jo Paul Ancheri, Former Indian Football Captain.

Later, he became the joint director of coaching jobs at the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG). He travelled to Dubai and the Middle East. He also represented the Indian beach football team in 2007.

Bruno made Goa and Goa Football proud and well known to others. He won the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2001.

He had a one and a half-decade journey with professional football. He still continues to play football for passion and is an inspiration to many. Bruno always says that he will not stop playing football and it looks like no one, not even age can stop him from playing football and scoring goals.

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