Kolkata: PK Banerjee, a footballing colossus of his time and a raconteur for all times, died right here on Friday aged 83, having dribbled and dazzled for a very good a part of his mind-boggling 51 years of service to the sport.
He was affected by respiratory issues resulting from pneumonia and had an underlying historical past of Parkinson’s illness, dementia and coronary heart drawback. Banerjee, who was on life help at a hospital right here since March 2, breathed his final at 12:40pm.
He’s survived by daughters Paula and Purna, who’re famend academicians, and youthful brother Prasun Banerjee, a sitting Trinamool Congress MP.
Born on June 23, 1936, in Moynaguri on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, Banerjee’s household relocated to his uncle’s place in Jamshedpur earlier than partition.
The 1962 Asian Video games gold medallist’s greatest days as a participant coincided with Indian soccer’s golden period. He scored 65 worldwide targets in 84 appearances for the nationwide crew.
His contribution was duly recognised by FIFA which rated him as India’s biggest participant of the 20th century, bestowing him with the Centennial Order of Benefit in 2004.
From his debut for Bihar within the Santosh Trophy as a 16-year-old in 1952 to a stint as Mohammedan Sporting coach 51 years later, Banerjee takes go away as one among India’s biggest.
A member of the holy trinity, that additionally included Chuni Goswami and Tulsidas Balaram, Banerjee was the final surviving scorer of the 1962 Asiad gold-winning crew.
One other one his shiny moments with the nationwide crew was a fourth-place end on the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the place India beat Australia 4-1.
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Within the last of the 1962 Asiad, India prevailed in entrance of a hostile crowd angered by chef de mission Guru Dutt Sondhi’s comment that it was ‘Jakarta Games’, for barring international locations like Taiwan and Israel. Banerjee scored the opener in that recreation.
He was captain of the Indian crew that final performed the Olympics in Rome 1960. He retired as a participant in 1967 after being laid low by recurring accidents. However then went on accumulate a staggering 54 trophies as a coach.
He pulled off a heist as Mohun Bagan coach after they famously held New York Cosmos 2-2 in an exhibition match starring Pele in 1977.
The star of Indian soccer when the game was at its peak, Banerjee by no means performed for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, representing Jap Railways all his life.
“Chakri charle khabo ki (What will I eat, if I quit),” was Banerjee’s well-known reply to not enjoying for the ‘Big Two’.
Having began off his Kolkata membership profession with little success at Aryan FC, Banerjee was rejected by Mohun Bagan after a “disastrous” exhibition match towards the legendary T Aao-led Manipur.
In Aryan too, he was an “outcast” after which coach Dasu Mitra would bathe him with the choicest of abuses, one thing, Banerjee stated, had performed an element in shaping his profession.
“I was seriously thinking of leaving Kolkata and returning to Jamshedpur when Bagha Shome, one of the most respected coaches then, offered me a job in the Indian Railways and an opportunity to play for the Eastern Railway.”
The remaining, as they are saying, is historical past.
A FIFA-certified coach, Banerjee had a training profession as illustrious as his enjoying one, starting with Bata SC and Jap Railway.
Having struck gold as a participant, a younger 35-year-old Banerjee was made a joint India coach with G M Basha, and so they delivered a bronze on the Bangkok Asiad in 1970.
Inside a 12 months on the helm, Banerjee guided India to a joint triumph on the Singapore Pesta Sukan Cup in 1971.
East Bengal received 5 CFL titles on the trot beneath his tutelage.
He additionally delivered at Mohun Bagan, guiding them to a treble — IFA Defend, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup — in 1977. He was coach of the Mohun Bagan that famously held the then Soviet Union crew, Ararat Yerevan, within the 1978 IFA Defend last.
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Again at East Bengal, Banerjee oversaw their well-known 4-1 win over the arch-rivals within the 1997 Federation Cup semifinal.