Indian football team at the Asian Games: 1962 Jakarta
Sportskeeda continues this series by looking back at India’s performance in the 1962 edition.
Goalkeepers: Peter Thangaraj (Mohammedan Sporting Club), Prodyut Burman (Railways).
Backs: O. Chandrashekar (Bombay), Jarnail Singh (Mohun Bagan AC), Trilok Singh (Services), Arun Ghosh (East Bengal Club), D.M.K. Afzal (Hyderabad City Police).
Half Backs: Fortunata A. Franco (ICL-Bengal Club, Bombay), Ram Bahadur (East Bengal Club), Prasanto Sinha (Bengal).
Forwards: P.K. Banerjee (Railways), Chuni Goswami (Mohun Bagan AC - CAPTAIN), Tulsidas Balaram (East Bengal Club), Ethiraj (Services), Mohammed Yousuf Khan (Hyderabad City Police), Arumai Nayagam (Mohun Bagan AC).
Coach: Syed Abdul Rahim (Hyderabad); Manager: Nurul Amin (Assam).
There were only eight participants in this edition with the teams divided into two groups of four each and the top two progressing to the semi-finals. India were among the medal prospects following their impressive performances in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Although they finished fourth in 1956, India’s showings in 1960 are considered to be their best-ever as they held their own against three stronger teams. They suffered narrow defeats to Hungary and Peru and held France to a 1-1 draw.
The legendary coach Syed Abdul Rahim and his boys were determined to build on that great display at the Olympics with a gold medal at the Asian Games but they got off to the worst possible start, losing to South Korea 2-0. But Rahim never lost faith in his players and encouraged them to come back in the next game. His players responded with a 4-1 victory over Thailand thanks to a brace from PK Banerjee and goals from Chuni Goswami and Tulsidas Balaram.
India were under pressure to beat Japan in the last group game to qualify for the semi-finals and they produced a fine team performance to win 2-0 with Banerjee and Balaram getting on the scoresheet. South Vietnam were the opponents in the semi-final and India edged them out in a five-goal thriller with Chuni Goswami netting a double.
The winners of the inaugural Asian Cup in 1960, South Korea, were India’s opponents in the final. Rahim and his students were determined to repeat the success of 1951 and were also seeking revenge of their group stage loss to the Koreans. India were the slight underdogs but raised their game to win 2-1 with Banerjee and defender Jarnail Singh doing the scoring. Rahim produced a tactical master-class by playing defender Jarnail upfront as he was carrying an injury and the great Punjabi stopper delivered. It proved to be Rahim’s last Asian Games as he died in 1963 and it is also the last time India won gold in this competition.
Novy Kapadia’s Insight
The fitness levels of the team was exemplary and probably the best for an Indian team. Rahim also put a lot of emphasis on power training, fitness, cohesiveness, and confidence. His great ability was to create a club like atmosphere in the national team. His practise sessions were always intense but interesting with a lot of variations. He made the players get used to different positions and he put a lot of emphasis on individual training with the ball.
Being a teacher in his earlier years he invented a lot of pithy slogans to motivate his players. Some of them were “Soccer is a passing game and a game of open spaces,” “soccer depends upon 2L+2H (legs, lungs, heart and head)” and “follow the opponent as soon as you lose the ball.” These are extracts from a booklet of notes prepared by the late Rahim in 1961 and reproduced by his son, Syed Shahid Hakeem, an Olympian of 1960 vintage, as a booklet, A Guide to The Young Footballer (2001).
August 26 1962: India 0-2 South Korea
August 28 1962: India 4-1 Thailand
Indian scorers: PK Banerjee (brace), Chuni Goswami, Tulsidas Balaram
August 29 1962: India 2-0 Japan
Indian scorers: PK Banerjee, Tulsidas Balaram
September 1 1962: India 3-2 South Vietnam
Indian scorers: Chuni Goswami (brace), Jarnail Singh.
September 4 1962: India 2-1 South Korea
Indian scorers: PK Banerjee, Jarnail Singh
Final position: Gold Medal