P.K. Banerjee was a pioneer in every way: Chhetri

BENGALURU, MARCH 20 : Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has termed P.K. Banerjee as a ‘pioneer in every sense of the word’ saying his achievements will forever have a place in Indian footballing history.

Indian football legend Banerjee died at a city hospital after battling a chest infection for a long time. He was 83.

A two-time Olympian and the only surviving goal-scorer of India’s 1962 Asian Games gold medal winning team, Banerjee, the Asian Games gold medallist, was suffering from sepsis and multi-organ failure due to pneumonia on a background of Parkinson’s disease, dementia and heart ailments.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. PK Banerjee as well as to the entire Indian football fraternity.

“He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and his achievements will forever have a place in Indian footballing history. Rest in peace,” Chhetri said in a tweet.

Bhaichung Bhutia had called Banerjee a ‘father figure’ saying he played one his best matches under the coaching of Banerjee.

It was the 1997 Federation Cup semi-final where Banerjee’s East Bengal hammered Mohun Bagan 4-1 in front of 1,31,000 spectators. The iconic Bhutia netted a hat-trick.

“He was a great human being. A very happy soul and a father figure to me,” Bhutia told IANS.

“I was fortunate to play one of my greatest matches under him. It is a big loss to Indian football. He is one of the greatest footballers and coaches India has ever seen,” said Bhutia.

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