• Thursday, Oct 22, 2020
  • Last Update : 05:23 pm

Legendary Bengali footballer Chuni Goswami passes away

  • Published at 08:48 pm April 30th, 2020
Chuni
The late Chuni Goswami

Chuni Goswami, whose real name was Subimal Goswami, was born at Joshodal Goswami Para in Kishoreganj (currently in Bangladesh), and was regarded as one of the most versatile and successful sportspersons in India

Chuni Goswami, the legendary Bengali footballer who led India to the Asian Games title, passed away Thursday in Kolkata. 

He was 82.

Chuni, whose real name was Subimal Goswami, was born at Joshodal Goswami Para in Kishoreganj (currently in Bangladesh), and was regarded as one of the most versatile and successful sportspersons in India.

Chuni made his international debut at the age of 18 when India beat China in the Olympics, and was instrumental behind their victory over powerful France in the next Olympics alongside his legendary teammate PK Banarjee, who died earlier this year.

But his greatest success came in the 1962 Jakarta Olympic Games when, under his captaincy, Indian side won the gold medal defeating a strong South Korea in the final. 

The side also won silver in the Asia Cup 1964.

Chuni, who started his footballing journey as an eight-year boy, was attached with a single club, Mohun Bagan, throughout his life, and refused offers of many big clubs, including English outfit Totenham Hotspur, according to reports.

Chuni also left huge contribution for raising awareness of the Liberation War. 

He captained Gostha Pal Ekados, a team formed with Bagan stars, for a charity match with Swadhin Bangla Football Team in August, 1971. 

Bagan won 4-2 as Chuni scored in front of 15,000 fans, and the money earned from the tickets was donated to war fund.

Bagan, led by Chuni, came to play in independent Bangladesh in May, 1972 for a friendly against Dhaka Xl. 

Dhaka won 1-0 with Kazi Salahuddin netting the only goal.

“He [Chuni] usually played as inside forward in 3-2-5 formation. He was one of the top players in Asia of his time,” said Salahuddin, the Bangladesh Football Federation and South Asian Football Federation president.

Shah Azizul Haque, the Kishoreganj district public prosecutor, told Dhaka Tribune about his birthplace in Joshodal Union, a renowned place also known to have given birth to Syed Nazrul Islam, the interim president during the Liberation War.

“He was born in Goswami Para near a bazar called Gosai Bazar. His real name is Subimal Goswami but he was better known as Chuni Goswami,” said Aziz, president of Kishoreganj District Bar.

“Chuni Goswami was born on January 15, 1938. Joshodal was under Kishoreganj Mahkuma (Thana) of Mymensingh district at that time. Now it is under Jashadol union in Kishoreganj sadar upazila.”

After retiring from football, he played first-class cricket and guided Bengal to the final of the Ranji Trophy in the 1972-73 season.

Chuni, who coached Bagan and the Indian national side, played hockey and lawn tennis at club level, acted in film and was also the Sheriff of Kolkata in 2005.

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