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India’s super soccer star, our favourite PK Banerjee is no more!

21 March, 2020 02:47:23
India’s super soccer star, our favourite PK Banerjee is no more!

He was the PK of Kolkata’s Maidan, one of the most distinguished soccer players of India and even the world who won one of the highest honours from FIFA --- FIFA Order of Merit in 2004. PK Banerjee or Pradip Kumar Banerjee is no more. After being put on ventilator for the last few days, he left us this afternoon, leaving behind a big void in the world of Indian soccer. 
Born on 23 June 1936, in Jalpaiguri, PK Banerjee completed his schooling from K.M.P.M. School in Jamshedpur. At the age of 15, Banerjee represented Bihar in Santosh Trophy, playing in the right wing. In 1954 he moved on to Kolkata and joined Aryan. Later he moved on to represent Eastern Railway and made his debut for the national team in the 1955 Quadrangular tournament in Dhaka at the age of only 19. He represented India in three Asian Games – at Tokyo, Jakarta and Bangkok. The Jakarta Games will forever be remembered as India clinched the gold medal in football. This was a very big day in history of Indian soccer. He was part of the national team that played at the 1956 Summer Olympics of Melbourne and was the captain at the 1960 Summer Olympics at Rome, where he scored an equalizer against France in a 1-1 draw. 

Not just as a player, P. K. Banerjee will also be remembered as a coach of both East Bengal and Mohan Bagan, the two stars of Maidan. He guided Mohan Bagan Athletic Club to a historic feat, winning the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup respectively to achieve their first-ever triple-crown triumph in one season. He became the national coach in 1972, starting with the qualifying matches of the 1972 Munich Olympics. He went on to coach the Indian Football Team till 1986. He joined the Tata Football Academy at Jamshedpur and served as its Technical Director from 1991 to 1997. He was awarded the player of the Millennium in 2005 by FIFA. He had also won the International Fair Play Award from the Olympic Committee, a feat that is yet to be repeated by any Indian footballer. 

He was also one of the first recipients of Arjuna Award, when the awards were instituted in 1961. He was awarded the prestigious Padma Shree in 1990 and was named Indian Footballer of the 20th century by IFFHS. It is indeed a sad day for the whole of Indian Sports fraternity and we in Kolkata will forever miss our favourite PK Banerjee.

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  • PK Banerjee

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