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Legendary footballer PK Banerjee passes away

09:03 WAT 20/03/2020
PK Banerjee
The Padma Shri awardee was in a critical condition...

Pradip Kumar Banerjee has died at the age of 83.  He is survived by two daughters, namely Paula Banerjee and Purna Banerjee. 

He was suffering from respiratory problems due to pneumonia, with an underlying history of Parkinson's disease, dementia, and heart trouble. Banerjee was admitted to a Superspeciality Hospital on February 6 with complaints of severe chest infection. He had been on ventilator support in intensive care for the last few days. A temporary pacemaker was also put in place to counter the side-effects of lung problems. 

He was born on October 15, 1936, and was the eldest of his seven siblings. 

He made his debut for the Indian Football team at the age of 19 years in 1955, in a Quadrangular Football tournament held in Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

At the age of 20, Banerjee became an Olympian when he represented India in the Melbourne Olympic Games 1956. In the next edition of the quadrennial tournament in Rome, he served as the captain of the Indian Football team and scored a famous goal against the European powerhouse France with the game ending 1-1.

He represented India at three different editions of the Asian Games, namely Tokyo 1958, Jakarta 1962 and Bangkok 1966. Incidentally, India won a Gold Medal in the 1962  edition of the competition. He also starred in the Merdeka Cup in Malaysia where India bagged two bronze and one silver medal on three occasions. Banerjee made 84 international appearances and scored 65 goals.

Banerjee was also a revered manager in the Indian football circuit. He started his coaching career with Kolkata giants East Bengal and later went on to guide Mohun Bagan to a historic treble as the Green and Maroons won the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup, and Durand Cup respectively to achieve their first-ever triple triumph in one season (1977).

In the year 1972, he became the national team coach and continued the job till the year 1986. He was one of the first recipients of the Arjuna Award in 1961, the inaugural year of the award. In 1990, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri. In  2004, FIFA awarded him with the highest honour, namely FIFA Centennial Order of Merit.