Sad that our Prime Minister does not condole the deaths of PK, Chuni: Subhash Bhowmick

KOLKATA: former India forward and renowned coach Subhash Bhowmick on Saturday he regretted that the prime minister Narendra Modi did not send any messages of condolence on the death of great footballers PK Banerjee and Chuni Goswami .

East Bengal brought together some of the great Indian footballers, including Bhaichung Bhutia , Shyam Thapa, Arun Ghosh, Bhowmick, among others, in a virtual meeting of condolences on Facebook.

Banerjee had died on March 20 after prolonged illness, while Goswami succumbed to cardiac arrest on April 30.

The prime minister of our country did not even have a second to spare for these two greats of Indian football. He couldn't even post a tweet or send a message, Bhowmick lamented.

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"I'm not sure whether he knows or not, our National anthems are being played outside India so many times and these two have played a big role in them."

Banerjee had scored in India's 2-1 triumph over South Korea in front of an overtly partisan crowd in Jakarta to win the Asian Games 1962 gold medal, a team captained by Chuni Goswami.

With the national blockade to combat the spread of COVID-19, the first condolence meeting was held on the virtual platform.

"My whole football life is indebted to 'Pradip da'. My parents brought me to this world and he showed me the way," Bhowmick said in his glowing tribute to Banerjee.

It was Banerjee who gave Bhowmick a second chance at life when he became an East Bengal legend after Mohun Bagan left him in 1972.

Bhowmick also praised Goswami, saying that he could easily be one of the best athletes in the country.

"I've seen him play hockey and tennis with equal flair. If he could devote more time he could have played Davis Cup," he said about Goswami who also played two Ranji Trophy finals for Bengal and captained in one of them.

I feel lucky to have played both of them in 1967-68 when I was playing for Sporting Union.

Former India captain Bhutia also remembered the duo fondly and singled out the epic 4-1 win for East Bengal in the 1997 Federation Cup semifinals in front of a record turn out of 1 lakh 20 thousand which remains the stuff of footballing folklore.

These are the two personalities that everyone connects with in Indian football. I have many memories associated with them. I really learned a lot from him. The way he absorbed all the pressure before the 'Diamond' game (from 1997).

"'Pradip da' was always very, very charming and happy. He always made players and anybody around him happy with past memories and stories.

I had very less interaction with Chuni Goswami as he was never part of coaching. He always carried himself very well, dressed neatly. They were part of the golden generation of the Indian football, Bhutia concluded.

Best remembered for his volley in 1978, Shyam Thapa also paid a rich tribute to the duo.

I became Shyam Thapa only because of Pradip da's training. Their motivating conversations not only motivated me, but everyone on the team.

They were among the best players in Asia. It is sad that they died in just two months. It is a great loss for Indian football.

The meeting was also joined by Banerjee's daughter, Paula, West Bengal's sports minister, Aroop Biswas.

The meeting was organised by East Bengal club and was streamed on Xtra Time Facebook page and was moderated by Jayanta Chakravarty.