Indian football legend Chuni Goswami passed away in Kolkata on Thursday after a battle with a prolonged illness, which was followed by a cardiac arrest, his family has communicated. Goswami was bed-ridden with underlying ailments and had diabetic, prostrate and nerve problems. Goswami was 82 and had played cricket and football professionally through his sports career.
Born in the Kishoreganj district of East Bengal (now Bangladesh), Goswami joined Mohun Bagan when he was eight years old. He began his journey with the junior team as a toddler and made his way through the ranks before making it to the senior team in 1954 as a withdrawn striker.
He played for 14 years at Mohun Bagan and carved a niche for himself at the club, becoming one of the greatest footballers to have played for the club. Chuni Goswami made his international debut for India in 1956 during the team's 1-0 victory over the Chinese Olympic team. He represented India on 50 occasions, which included the Olympics, the Asian Games, Asia Cup and Merdeka Cup. He captained India to the Asian Games Gold Medal in 1962 and also led them to a Silver at the 1964 Asia Cup in Tel Aviv and in the Merdeka Cup.
Goswami was a proficient cricketer too
Goswami was an extremely proficient cricketer as well. He captained both the football and cricket sides of University of Calcutta. Goswami had received trial offers from European clubs like Tottenham Hotspur but he decided to stay at Mohun Bagan.
Goswami was an all-rounder on the cricket pitch. He was a right arm medium fast bowler and a right-handed middle order batsman. He captained the Bengal Ranji Trophy team and played 46 first-class cricket games for his state, scalping 47 wickets and scoring over 1000 runs, which included a century and seven half-centuries. He also led Bengal to the 1971-72 Ranji Trophy final.
Goswami was made the director of the esteemed Tata Football Academy and went on to coach India for a year as well, in 1991. Goswami's death will be a huge shock to the Indian sporting community, especially after the recent death of fellow football legend PK Banerjee.