India football great Tulsidas Balaram on Friday revealed that he was jealous of his former teammate and wanted to prove a point on the pitch during their playing days.

Along with the late PK Banerjee, they once formed the deadliest trio of strikers in Indian football history. Goswami died in Calcutta on Thursday at 82, 41 days after his illustrious colleague, Banerjee.

“I have become Tulsidas Balaram because of Chuni Goswami,” Balaram told PTI. “I wanted to prove that I’m also no lesser than him. It was a sporting jealousy I had developed. I was not able to sleep well. I would always think of him, dream of him. I wanted to prove a point.”

The 83-year-old remembered the Santosh Trophy in 1956, where he first saw Goswami: “When I first saw him, he was a young boy, surrounded by so many people and he earned a lot of fame [after winning Santosh Trophy in 1955] I asked my seniors about him,” the former Hyderabad forward said.

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Balaram saw one match of Goswami – Bengal’s semi-final defeat to Bombay as Hyderabad went on to win the championship in Trivandrum that year.

“He played very well for Bengal the previous year. He was around the same height, same structure. The only difference between us was that he was a little bit fair in complexion and I was on the darker side. I was also a young boy then.

“I said to myself ‘If he can play so well, why can’t I?’ There was something in me wanting to prove a point, and I took it up as a challenge,” he said.

Balaram moved to Kolkata giants East Bengal after turning down several other offers. At the time, Goswami was playing for arch-rivals Mohun Bagan: “Had I not seen him that particular day, I would not have become a ‘Balaram’”

Balaram added: “Later on, we went on to become very good friends and earned plaudits for India. I would not be who I am without him. There would be a lot of media hype surrounding us as to who’s better and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Our fight was only on the pitch for 90 minutes. Every time I would go to their tent [Mohun Bagan] after our matches he would treat me with a soft drink and I would reciprocate.”

India’s glory days

As Banerjee, Goswami and Balaram formed the famed triumvirate, India went on to win the 1962 Asian Games. In 12 of the 16 matches the PK-Chuni-Balaram trio were part of, between 1958 and 1962, they netted 20 of India’s 36 goals scored during that period.

“He fed so many passes to me; many of which resulted in goals. There are so many beautiful memories of him,” Balaram said, from his Uttarpara residence.

“Next month may be my turn [after Banerjee and Goswami passing on within a little over a month’s time]. No one knows. Nobody can predict death. Whenever the call comes, you have to go. I never thought Chuni will go away within a little over a month [of Banerjee’s death].”

Balaram continues to stay in Kolkata. He explained: “I love spending time here looking at the [Dakshineshwar] temple [on the banks of river Hooghly]. I’m not in a mood to go back to Secunderabad despite my relatives repeatedly asking to return,” Balaram said.

“I made my name here. People love me here. Nobody knows me there. Everyone loves me here like I’m one of their own. I can’t leave this city.”