In a shocking news that sent ripples across Kerala, former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan defender R Dhanarajan died on the field after he collapsed during a ‘Sevens’ match in Kerala on Sunday night.

According to a report in, Dhanarajan was playing in an All India Sevens tournament at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district of Kerala when he suddenly collapsed after suffering loss of breath and chest pain.

The incident occurred in the 27th minute of the match between FC Perinthalmanna and Sastha Thrissur. The 39-year-old Dhanarajan was immediately taken to a nearby hospital, but he could not be revived.

Dhanarajan, who had retired from professional football a while back, has been a known face in the Sevens tournament in Kerala. He was also coaching talented kids at an academy near his hometown.

Dhanarajan, a Palakkad resident in Kerala, grabbed eyeballs as a central defender during his time with Viva Kerala FC who once played in the I-League. He graduated on to play for top clubs in India including Mohammedan Sporting, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. He was also a regular face in Kerala’s Santosh trophy teams. He was part of the Mohammedan Sporting team that won the Durand Cup after 73 years, back in 2013, and has also captained the club. He is survived by wife Archana and daughter Sivani.

RIP, Dhanarajan!