Monem Munna was one of the finest players in the history of Bangladesh football and those who watched him play are still in awe of the defender's skills. He was lauded by many pundits and used to be a very popular figure in the subcontinent.
In 1991, Munna received a record fee, 20 lakh taka, for Abahani, which was a unique record for the whole of South Asia at that time. He helped Abahani win the Dhaka League five times and the Federation Cup three times.
In 1990, when all the footballers of Abahani joined the Muktijoddha Club at a comparatively higher price, Munna alone remained in Abahani purely out of love for the team. It was the same year when he led a group of young footballers to help the team win the league title.
Munna joined East Bengal, one of the most famous football clubs in India, after successful stints in the Bangladesh Football League for Abahani. In 1991 and 1993, East Bengal included him in the foreign quota. Munna played for the team for only two seasons but the star defender was instrumental in helping the team win the league title and the Federation Cup.
During his time in East Bengal, he was able to win the hearts of its supporters and football-loving Bengalis. "Munna is a strong defender, a great tackler and header," said East Bengal officials at the time acknowledging his outstanding performances.
Speaking about him, Debabrata Sarkar, once an official of East Bengal, said there will be no second player like Munna in this subcontinent.
The legendary footballer left his mark playing only two seasons in Kolkata. Monem Munna became an impeccable advertisement of Bangladesh football in India. So, the club did not have to think twice to give Monem Munna a place in the East Bengal Club's Hall of Fame.
Munna used to prefer the position of a stopper. But after joining East Bengal, the then East Bengal coach Nyemuddin played him in sweeper position. To play in this position, a footballer has to be strong, good at tackles and long passes. The coach had strong confidence in Munna and he gave Munna the opportunity to play a free role. Munna was quite successful in that position too.
In 1986, he was called up to the national team for the first time to participate in the Seoul Asian Games. He was only 18 then. He remained a very important and reliable member of the national team for eleven consecutive years before retiring.
Munna was elected captain of the national team for the first time at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. In 1995, Bangladesh participated in the four-nation competition in Myanmar. In that tournament, Bangladesh won a title in the international arena for the first time. Munna's performance as a team leader and footballer in the tournament earned him a lot of praise. In the same year, under his leadership, the Bangladesh team became runner-up in the SAFF Football Championship.
Monem Munna passed away on February 12, 2005, at the age of only 38.