India’s star Olympic football captain Samar ‘Badru’ Banerjee is no more

Former Indian football team captain Samar ‘Badru’ Banerjee, who led the country to a historic fourth place in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died in Kolkata early Saturday after a prolonged illness. He was 92 years old. In Banerjee’s family, she has a daughter-in-law. Popularly known as ‘Badru Da’, he was suffering from ailments related to Alzheimer’s, azotemia and hypertension, and was admitted to MR Bangur Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 on July 27.

Mohun Bagan secretary Debashish Dutta told PTI, “He was admitted to the Government SSKM Hospital under the supervision of State Sports Minister Arup Biswas as his health deteriorated. He breathed his last at around 2.10 pm.

“He was our dear ‘Badru Da’ and we awarded him the Mohun Bagan Ratna in 2009. This is another great loss to the ground,” he said in his condolence message.

His body was brought to the club as members and fans paid their last respects.

Indian football teams have competed in three Olympics so far, and so far, Banerjee-led 1956 team’s performance remains the best, when they finished fourth, losing 0–3 to Bulgaria in the bronze medal playoffs. which was known. The ‘Golden Age’ of football in the country.

After receiving a walkover in the first round, the Syed Abdul Rahim-coached team that also included PK Banerjee, Neville D’Souza and J ‘Kittu’ Krishnaswamy defeated Australia 4–2. D’Souza hit a hat-trick in his scintillating win.

But the team failed to make the final after losing 1–4 to Yugoslavia in the last-four stage.

Besides guiding Mohun Bagan to several trophies including their first Durand Cup (1953), Rovers Cup (1955), Banerjee also won the Santosh Trophy twice as a player (1953, 1955) and once as a coach (1962). Has won. He also served India as a selector.

With his demise the ground has lost great players like PK, Chunni Goswami, Subhash Bhowmik and Surjit Sengupta in less than three years.

Born on 30 January 1930, Banerjee’s football journey began as a school-going child with a few local clubs in Bali.

His father, Shashank Shekhar Banerjee, was a strict disciplinarian and wanted him to become a doctor, enrolling him in RG Medical College.

“My father was very strict. He used to scold me a lot for ignoring my studies,” Banerjee told the Mariners’ website after being awarded the ‘Mohun Bagan Ratna’.

“But, despite this, I would go there and hear the elders talking about Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and many other clubs in the ground. I was shunned many times, but my attention will always be there,” he added. .

At a time when there was little incentive for a player, an 18-year-old Banerjee chose to become a footballer and went on to represent Bally Protiva, a third division club in the Calcutta Football League.

Impressed by his skills, he did not look back, as he was inducted by the Bengal Nagpur Railway, then known as the BNR, which was then the nurturing ground for state football, during an excellent eight. Before leaving a mark in Mohun Bagan. year term. There he made a deadly alliance with Kesto Pal.

Banerjee won the IFA Shield in his first season with the Green-and-Maroon Brigade in a controversial final against the Rajasthan club.

He then guided the club to their first Durand Cup the following season, with his dominant strikes in the semi-finals and final.

Banerjee hit the ground again in 1954, when she secured another first with CFL and IFA Shield titles, as she cemented her place in the Indian team under coach Rahim.

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In between he also toured East Africa with the club, with the likes of PK.

In 1958, he was made captain of Mohun Bagan, which ironically coincided with the club’s downward spiral, having been runners-up in the CFL, Shield and Rovers Cup.

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