Former India national team goalkeeper Shibaji Banerjee passed away in Kolkata today after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 68 and is survived by his wife and son.
The Mohun Bagan legend, who had played for the club for 11 seasons, was also a part of the club’s current technical committee. He was in buoyant mood at the stadium after the club notched up a victory against DSK on Saturday evening.
Banerjee is best remembered for his performance against New York Cosmos in 1977, who had the Brazilian legend Pele in their ranks. His diving save from Pele in the first half is one of the most-talked about moments in Indian football and has become a part of the folklore.
Banerjee was also a part of the India national team for a long period, being a regular from 1972 to 1981. During this period, he had to face stern challenge from Atanu Bhattacharya, Bhaskar Ganguly and Arun Banerjee to earn a starting berth.
He is considered to be one of India’s best shot-stoppers when it came to penalty-kicks. His most memorable performance in a tie-breaker was against Mohammedan Sporting in the 1980 Federation Cup semi-final when he stopped spot-kicks from Akbar and Amalraj.
Two years ago, he was made a part of the Mohun Bagan technical committee along with fellow club legends Compton Dutta and Satyajit Chatterjee. The trio played their part by helping Sanjoy Sen and his boys win the I-League for the very first time.