Chuni Goswami, a legend of Indian football, died in Kolkata on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 82.
“He suffered a cardiac arrest and died in the hospital at around 5 pm,” a family member told PTI.
Goswami was suffering from underlying ailments, including sugar, prostrate and nerve problems, reported PTI. He is survived by his wife Basanti and son Sudipto.
Goswami played 50 matches for India as a footballer from 1956 to 1964.
He had turned 82 in January. The football great was the captain of the Indian team that won gold at the 1962 Asian Games gold. He was also an excellent cricketer and captained Bengal after retiring from football. As a cricketer, he represented Bengal in 46 first-class games between 1962 and 1973.
In club football, he played for Mohun Bagan.
Under his captaincy, Indian football team won the Asiad gold and finished runners-up in 1964 Asian Cup, and narrowly lost to what was then Burma in Merdeka football six months later. While in college, he captained Calcutta University in both football and cricket in the same year.
He started his international career in 1957 and became the biggest star of the national team that included stalwarts like Peter Thangaraj, Jarnail Singh, Tulsidas Balaram, PK Banerjee and others. But he bid adieu to international football in 1964 when he was only 27 and concentrated on cricket.
He was also a Ranji Trophy player and in 1966, he was one of the two bowlers responsible for the historic innings defeat of Gary Sobers’ West Indies by the combined Central and East Zone team under Hanumant Singh in Indore. In 1971-’72 season, he was made the Bengal captain. He took the team to the Ranji Trophy final before losing against Bombay at the Brabourne Stadium.
Born on 15th January 1938 in Kishoreganj (now in Bangladesh), Goswami joined the Mohun Bagan youth Team in 1946. He graduated to the Mohun Bagan senior team in 1954. He continued playing for Mohun Bagan till his retirement from the game in 1968. During his stint, Goswami captained the club for five seasons, between 1960 to 1964. He led his side to three successive Durand Cup triumphs as well as four successive Calcutta Football League wins.
(With PTI and ISL media inputs)