Remembering the legend: Vatta Parambath Sathyan (V P Sathyan)

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Today, Eleven years ago VP Sathyan, one of the iconic figures ever to grace Indian football said goodbye to us and his life. On his 11th anniversary we bring you a rough picture of him and his career.

Early Life

Vatta Parambath Sathyam was born in a middle class Hindu family in Kannur, Kerala to Vatta Parambath Gopalan Nair and Narayani Amma on 29 April 1965.His birthplace Kannur had a strong influence in shaping his character and love for the game. Back then football was the only sport known to people in the Malabar region and Sathyam too started playing it in his leisure time. As years passed by, his bond with football strengthened and he began to take the game seriously during his teenage days. His footballing ability and playing style began to get admirers around the region. Though he was a teenager, his footballing antics were of a matured and experienced footballer.

Making of a footballer

Sathyan joined Spirited Youth Club in 1982 at the age of 17, where he honed his skills and improved himself as a player. His footballing ability was of an elite class player; his performances were noticed other clubs in the region .When the opportunity came up Sathyan joined Lucky Star Club Kannur which was the turning point in his career.His performances earned him his first call for Kerala Santhosh trophy squad. A year later he joined kerala police in 1984, He became an important piece of jigsaw for Kerala Police. His first stint with Kerala police was his most productive campaign as he earned his national team call during the period. His tough statute and his ability to lead the team were exceptional.

Photo: mathrubhumi

He was the brightest star among the whole lot of talented footballers in late 80’s. Under his captaincy Kerala team won back to back Santhosh trophy in 1992-93. He also led Kerala police to federation cup glory in 1990 and 1991. Those years were considered as the golden era Kerala football with Sathyan being the lead light.

National team call

His performances in Santhosh trophy in early eighties has impressed selectors and was called up to attend south zone camp for Indian probables under Amar Bahadur in 1985.The defender was further called up to represent national team, his performances in SAFF games 1985 were outstanding. His 35 yard screamer against South Korea in 1986 Mederka Cup showed his class .Sathyan later captained the national side in 1991.Under his tutelage India won a gold medal in 1995 SAFF games.

Sathyan made over 80 appearances for the national side during his career. His performance and leadership skills were considered second to none. AIFF honoured him by awarding him the player of the year award in 1995, the only defender in the country to win the prestigious honour other than Gourmanghi singh.

Life in Kolkata

After his glory days with Kerala police He joined Kolkata giants Mohemmadan sporting and later joined Mohun Bagan. Though his season with Mohemmadans Sporting wasn’t much productive, he came to limelight the very next season following his move to Mohun Bagan.He was one of those footballer who had a divine touch, the spectators loved watching him, his work rate, commitment and his never give up attitude on the field made him a fan favorite.Though he received offers for abroad sathyan decided to stay in the country and play football here. It was during this period he grew homesick and decided to return to him motherland.

It was his successful spell in Kolkata that had helped footballers including I M Vijayan, Joe Paul Ancheri and other footballers from Kerala to leave the state seeking professional football in the country.

Life after Kolkata

Sathyan returned to Kerala police in 1994-95 season, but this time he never had the stardom he deserved at the club.In fact Sathyan’s promotion in job was held by them due to the fact that he left the club for Kolkota. After spending a season with the KP , the team which moulded him as a player and captain he joined Indian Bank in 1996.He served as footballer for the chennai team in the last years of his playing career. In 2001, at the age of 36, Sathyan hunged up his boot. In his career spanning 19 years he won many accolades with the club.

Life as a coach

After retiring from his career as a player Sathyan returned to Indian bank as a coach. As a coach he helped his side to earn promotion to the top flight and managed to keep his side in the top tier for a season. He couldn’t stop the inevitable as his side was relegated after one year in the top flight.


Sathyan was appointed as the assistant coach of Indian National team in 2002 under Stephen Constantine. He accompanied Constantine in South Korea tour.After he stepped down as the assistant coach of national team he was part of AIFF selection committee.

2006 July 18

The news broke out as a shock for India’s footballing fraternity, as Sathyan was knocked down by a suburban train near Pallavaram station, Chennai. He turned his back on life at the age of 41. The ones who saw his heroic performances on the pitch, couldn’t believe Sathyan was no more, so does his acquaintances.In his last years of life he was suffering depression coupled with financial problem, which was the reason behind his sad demise.


As a tribute to Sathyan’s inspiring life, a movie is being made based on his life. Actor Jayasuriya plays the lead role in the movie and the works of the movie is in progress.



On his 11th anniversary, as an honour for the legend, a football match is conducted in Calicut at 3pm today at the Corporation stadium. It is expected that crowd will come to the stands in big numbers as an honour for the legend and to watch the friendly match between Captain XI and Calicut Celebrity XI.