When Indian football legend Chuni Goswami rejected English giants Tottenham Hotspur to play in India

Chuni Goswami
Chuni Goswami

Football and cricket have been two important sports introduced by the British when they colonized India. During those times, cricket didn't have an overwhelming precedence like the present times. Cricket was a game closer to the elite category and football was more like an emotion to the common people. The Indian football team has won many plaudits during its golden time in football and Chuni Goswami is a name that Indian football can never forget.

Subimal Goswami, popularly known as Chuni, is the former Indian football team captain and a former first-class cricketer for Bengal. Goswami captained the Indian team to Asian Games Gold Medal in 1962. He recalls that during those time the Bengal football team who participated in the Santosh Trophy was paid more than the Bombay Ranji trophy team.

According to Goswami, after India won the gold under his captaincy in Jakarta, Tottenham Hotspur got in touch with him through an acquaintance inviting him for a trial in England. He said he rejected the opportunity of a trial at England as there was so much uncertainty in playing abroad. The then Mohun Bagan captain loved the support he got from the fans in India. Goswami added that Dhiren-da the former administrator of Mohun Bagan asked him "What will you do there, staying all alone?” so he didn't go for the trials.

Goswami said that he never accepted payment from Mohun Bagan as it was an emotion and pride for to play for the club. "We got a banana and a piece of toast after practice at Mohun Bagan, that was enough for us, " said Goswami. He added that they had no scope of asking for payment during those times but this helped him when he got a job in State Bank of India with a pay scale of Rs 450 in 1960.

One of the legends of Indian football, Goswami never regrets the chance he declined and enjoyed his time in Indian football. Now many Indian players have got the opportunity to play in foreign countries, and Goswami believes that if the players play well they will get opportunities to stay abroad and make it a trend as Indian players will come cheaper than the western players.

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Edited by Abhijit Bharali
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