PK Banerjee, Indian football legend, passes away at 83
Former Indian football captain Pradip Kumar Banerjee passed away in Kolkata on Friday at the age of 83 years. He had been struggling with ill health for a while.Banerjee is survived by daughters Paula and Purna, who are renowned academicians, and younger brother Prasun Banerjee, who is a sitting Trinamool Congress MP.
A revered figure in Indian football, Banerjee captained the national team in what is considered its golden period. He won the gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. A burly right-winger, Banerjee was a proven leader both as a player as well as a coach. While he turned out for Railways as a player, he had successful coaching stints with the top clubs of Indian football including Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
He also had an underlying history of Parkinson’s disease, dementia and heart problem.
He was on life support at a hospital here since March 2 and breathed his last at 12:40pm, according to a family member.
Born on June 23, 1936 in Moynaguri on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, Banerjee’s family relocated to his uncle’s place in Jamshedpur before partition.
He scored 65 international goals in 84 appearance for the national team.
Besides winning the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1992, Banerjee led India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he scored the equaliser against a formidable French team in a 1-1 draw.
Before that, Banerjee represented India in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and played a key role in their 4-2 win over Australia in the quarterfinals.
Banerjee’s contribution to Indian football was duly recognised by the world governing body FIFA that awarded him the Centennial Order of Merit in 2004.
Banerjee was admitted in the Medica Superspeciality Hospital in Kolkata. Here is the statement issued by the hospital after the legendary footballer’s demise:
Legendary footballer Shri Pradip Kumar Banerjee, aged 83 years, was admitted in Medica Superspecialty Hospital since 7th February 2020.
He was suffering from Sepsis and multi-organ failure due to pneumonia, with a background of Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Heart problems.
He was on ventilator support in the intensive care unit for more than two weeks. For last few days was in very critical condition.
Inspite of best of efforts and extensive clinical support by the multidisciplinary team of consultants, he succumbed to his illness and breathed his last at 2.08pm this afternoon.
Medica extends their heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
(With PTI inputs)