Sunday, March 4, 2007

P. K. Banerjee : Stricker Indian Football

Full Name: Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Born: October 15, 1936, Jalpaiguri, Bengal
Major Teams: Aryan Club, Eastern Railway SC, India
Playing Position: Striker
Achievements: Member of the Indian team that finished fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics; won gold medal in 1962 Asian Games; first-ever footballer to receive the Arjuna Award (1961)

P. K. Banerjee was one of the stalwarts of the formidable Indian football squad that made a name for itself in the international stage. A dashing forward, Banerjee made it a habit of scoring crucial goals for his team.

Though Banerjee started his professional career in Jamshedpur, it was in the highly competitive Calcutta league that he excelled representing the Eastern Railways SC.

Banerjee was a member of the Indian team that finished fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and had captained the national team at the 1960 Rome Olympics. In Rome, though India failed to move from the group stage, they played inspirational soccer to hold the mighty France 1-1 through a goal from the captain himself.

Banerjee dazzled in the Asian arena as well, representing India in three Asiads from 1958 to 1966. In the 1962 edition, India clinched the gold medal with Banerjee scoring against all the teams except the very first match against South Korea.

Post-retirement, Banerjee coached the Calcutta giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and was associated with the national team for a long time. In 1961, P. K. Banerjee became the first-ever footballer to receive the Arjuna Award.


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