Indian football team at the Asian Games: 1958 Tokyo
Sportskeeda continues this new series by looking back at India’s performance in the 1958 edition.
Goalkeepers: Peter Thangaraj (Madras Regimental Centre, Services), Shankar Subramaniam Narayan (Caltex, Bombay).
Defenders: Syed Khwaja Azizuddin (Hyderabad City Police), Abdul Latif (Mohammedan Sporting Club), Mohammed Abdul Salaam (Bengal), Ahmed Hussain (Bengal).
Midfielder: Mariappa Kempiah (Mohun Bagan AC), Noor Mohammed (Hyderabad City Police), Nikhil Nandy (Eastern Railway SC, Bengal), Bir Bahadur Gurang (East Bengal Club).
Forwards: P.K. Banerjee (Bengal), Chuni Goswami (Mohun Bagan AC), Dharmalingam Kannan (Hyderabad), D. Damodaran (Bengal), M. Rahmatullah (Bengal), Tulsidas Balaram (East Bengal Club), K.T. Pavitran (Bombay).
Coach: T. Shome (Bengal); Manager: N. Mahapatra (Orissa).
Once again the tournament comprised 12 teams but this time the top two from each group progressed to the quarter-finals while the duration of each match would be 90 minutes plus an additional 30 minutes if the score was tied in a knockout game. India came into the tournament on the back of their impressive finish of fourth in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. India once again were drawn with Indonesia while Burma were the other team in the three-team group.
Just like in 1954, India started the group stage with a 3-2 win as Burma were beaten thanks to goals from P. K. Banerjee, D Damodaran and Chuni Goswami. And as a repeat of 1954, India lost to Indonesia again, this time only 2-1. They finished second in the group to set up a quarter-final showdown with one of the group winners, Hong Kong.
India produced one of their best performances of the tournament to beat Hong Kong 5-2 after extra time with Rahmatullah bagging a brace. In the semi-final, India were up against South Korea but lost 3-1 with Damodaran once again getting on the scoresheet. Bogey-side Indonesia were their opponents in third-place playoff and the south-east Asian nation once again proved to be India’s nemesis as they won 4-1 to claim the bronze.
Novy Kapadia’s Insight
Once again the Asian Games was held in May-June, at a time when the season in India had just ended. So the players were tired and Calcutta-based players were thinking of inter-club transfers
Still we defeated Burma 3-2 in the group stage and Hong Kong 5-2 in the quarter-finals. That game against Hong Kong was the first time India played extra time in international football. India again lacked physical fitness and lost to South Korea in the semis the next day as they did not have enough rest to recover after playing those additional 30 minutes in the quarter-final.
May 26 1958: India 3-2 Burma
Indian scorers: Chuni Goswami, Tulsidas Balaram, Damodaran
May 28 1958: India 1-2 Indonesia
Indian scorer: Rahmatullah
May 30 1958: India 5-2 Hong Kong
Indian scorers: Rahmatullah (brace); Chuni Goswami, Tulsidas Balaram; Damodaran
May 31 1958: India 1-3 South Korea
Indian scorer: Damodaran
Third Place Playoff
Jun 1 1958: India 1-4 Indonesia
Indian scorer: Tulsidas Balaram
Final position: Fourth