Football

Tributes pour in for P.K. Banerjee from all over

Down memory lane: Subrata Bhattacharji being introduced to Ram Chandra Parab during an exhibition match for football veterans in Calcutta (circa 1985). Others in the picture are, left to right, Sachindra Nath Mitra, P.K. Banerjee and T. Balaram.

Down memory lane: Subrata Bhattacharji being introduced to Ram Chandra Parab during an exhibition match for football veterans in Calcutta (circa 1985). Others in the picture are, left to right, Sachindra Nath Mitra, P.K. Banerjee and T. Balaram.  

“His commitment and passion to the sport was something unique. More importantly, he was a perfect human being — the way he made youngsters and seniors in the team feel comfortable is something many modern generation stars can learn,” said T. Balaram, a member of the illustrious ‘troika’ along with P.K. Banerjee and Chuni Goswami in the 1950s and 60s.

Prominent personalities from all over paid glowing tributes to P.K. Banerjee on his demise in Kolkata on Friday.

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted “...a legendary figure in the world of Football in India. It’s a massive loss for the nation’s footballing fraternity. I pay my heartfelt tributes to the departed soul.”

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said PK’s contribution could not be forgotten. “He will stay synonymous with the golden generation of Indian football. Pradip-da, you will remain alive in our hearts,” said Patel. As a mark of respect, the AIFF kept its flag half-mast at its headquarters in Delhi.

“His commitment and passion to the sport was something unique. More importantly, he was a perfect human being — the way he made youngsters and seniors in the team feel comfortable is something many modern generation stars can learn,” said T. Balaram, a member of the illustrious ‘troika’ along with P.K. Banerjee and Chuni Goswami in the 1950s and 60s, to The Hindu.

“I had the privilege of being his teammate for two Olympics (1956 and 1960) and three Asian Games (including the gold-medal winning team in 1962). It is rare to see a more complete team-man than PK, who had amazing speed and ball control,” said Balaram. “Sheer passion and the dignity of playing for the country were the only factors which drove us.”

Genial

Nonagenarian Samar Banerjee, who also played alongside PK, said, “I was the captain of the Indian team in 1956 Melbourne Olympics and PK was the right winger. After that the Indian team toured Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and we got very good results… He was a very speedy and positive player, who had the ability to score. He was full of life and jovial.”

 

“He was our captain at the Rome Olympics. A wonderful dribbler with great speed. He was powerful and strong on both feet,” noted Simon Sunderraj, another of P.K. Banerjee’s contemporary.

“Heartfelt condolences on the passing of the great Indian footballer PK Banerjee! Have fond memories of meeting him on a few occasions and the positivity he spread. May his soul Rest In Peace!” tweeted Sachin Tendulkar.

Sourav Ganguly in his tweet noted “Lost a very dear person today .. someone who I loved and respected enormously.. someone who had so much influence in my career when I was a 18 year old boy .. his positivity was infectious .. may his soul rest in peace....”

Big loss

“He was a great human being. A very happy soul and a father figure to me,” said former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia. “It is a big loss to Indian football. He is one of the greatest footballers and coaches India has ever seen.”

Indian football’s biggest player in the present day, Sunil Chhetri called him a pioneer. “I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. PK Banerjee as well as to the entire Indian football fraternity.

“He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and his achievements will forever have a place in Indian footballing history. Rest in peace,” Chhetri said.

(With inputs from Y.B. Sarangi and agencies)

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:08:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/tributes-pour-in-for-pk-banerjee-from-all-over/article31122240.ece

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