MUMBAI: A warm round of applause isn’t something one generally expects at a funeral, even more so when it’s accompanied by enthusiastic barks. But this was no regular farewell.
Family, friends and teammates along with loyal companions — his pet dog ‘Hulk,’ joined in to celebrate and pay their respects, as Scott D’Souza — a 26-year-old professional footballer scored his ‘final goal’ on October 30.
In a tragic sequence of events, Scott started feeling uncomfortable during a game of football with his friends on October 28. He was rushed to PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim but there was little the doctors could do, declaring him dead even before admission.
At his funeral, Scott’s teammates arranged for a special tribute to say goodbye to their forward mate. Forming two rows they passed the ball down, but made sure Scott got the final touch. The ball deflected off his coffin and into the goal, in what was a perfect goodbye to a friend and teammate who revelled in scoring goals and bringing joy to those around him.
“He was an awesome football player. Just before the lockdown he even represented Mumbai in a district-level tournament at Kolhapur helping his team reach the finals. Hence, we thought this was the most fitting way for us to say goodbye to him,” Gordon Fernandes, friend and co-owner of the team FC Cecillians which was started by Scott’s dad Ozwald D’Souza, was quoted as saying by the-aiff.com.
Scott turned out regularly for FC Cecilians and was even sharing administrative responsibilities of the team after his dad passed away earlier this year.
Another teammate, Johnson D’silva remembered the special memories he shared with his friend. “I’ve known Scott since school but we started playing together after college for Central Bank, and then the I-League 2nd division for PIFA Sports, and various other tournaments.”
“He was the most jolly person in our team, always a benefit to whoever he played for, with the strength and power in his legs. We called him Zlatan. The fact that he also represented Union Bank and Air India shows you how good a player he was.”
Scott’s powerful kicks were a feature right from his school days. Tony D’Souza, his sports co-ordinator at Don Bosco Matunga recalled: “It was during the 10th standard that he started playing as a forward instead of defence. He had an outstanding year. His trademark powerful shots earned him a name. He would take all the free-kicks, and he had even scored from the half-line at times.”
However, Scott’s jolly nature and footballing prowess are best captured in a memory which his mother recently shared with Gordon. “I met his mom yesterday. We had gone to give a trophy and she was saying — Scott on his good days would ask me ‘How many goals you want Mama?’ And he would actually score that many and come home.”
Scott is survived by his mother, brother and ‘Hulk’ who was a regular on the side-lines whenever he used to lead the FC Cecilians’ attack during practice.