• Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:49 pm

Tribute to one of greatest Bangali footballers

  • Published at 08:55 pm May 2nd, 2020
The late Chuni Goswami

Chuni Goswami breathed his last at the age of 82 on April 30, leaving millions to mourn his death, including the people of his birthplace, Kishoreganj, where he was born on January 15, 1938

Subimal “Chuni” Goswami is dubbed as Brahma of Indian football who glazed all corners of Asia during the 1950 and 60s and no Bangali footballer after Syed Abdus Samad, better known as football jadukor (magician), has gained so much fame and popularity since then.

Chuni breathed his last at the age of 82 on April 30, leaving millions to mourn his death, including the people of his birthplace, Kishoreganj, where he was born on January 15, 1938.

Joshodal Gosai Bazar is some two miles away from Kishoreganj railway station. 

The bazar was founded by the people of Goswamipara of Madhupur village, where Chuni’s parents lived before settling in Kolkata.

He was recruited by Mohun Bagan at the age of eight and made an early presence in the senior side at 16. 

The legend spent his entire career at the same premises and even rejected offers from English outfit Tottenham Hotspur. 

He retired from professional football in 1968 and focused more on cricket.

Calcutta league was famous in South Asia during the British period and sometime after the great divide. 

Bangali players not only buzzed the league but also acquired a big portion in the national side. 

Chuni led India to some unprecedented successes that very few can replicate.

One can read about his 1962 Asian Games gold medal-winning exploits in teammate Franco Fortunato’s tribute at ESPN titled “Watching Chuni Goswami play would gladden the heart.”

Chuni guided India to the final of the 1964 Asia Cup. 

He built a “mythical” attacking trio with PK Banerjee, another Bangali legend who died last month, and Tulsidas Balaram who are often referred as "Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar" of Indian football.

He also offered helping hand to Bangladesh when it fought Liberation War in 1971.

It was during that time when the iconic forward had called it a day already and started taking cricket more seriously, leading Bengal to the Ranji Trophy final in the 1971-72 season.

Chuni decided to wear football boots again to support the cause of raising funds for the refugees of the war who took shelter in India. 

He represented a team formed with ex-Bagan stars, under the title of Gostha Pal Ekados, during a charity match with Swadhin Bangla Football Team in August, 1971, and scored a goal that gripped some 15,000 spectators present at the home ground of Bagan. 

Proceeds from the tickets sales went to the refugee fund.

He was also part of Bagan when they became the first club from abroad to visit independent Bangladesh to play a friendly against Dhaka Xl in May, 1972, where Kazi Salahuddin netted the lone goal. 

Salahuddin, who faced Chuni on the pitch of Kolkata too, hailed the legend as “One of Asia’s bests” after hearing the sad news.

Kishoreganj, too, paid tribute to one of their golden sons who not only sparkled the continent with his football skills but also showed solidarity towards the people of the country during 1971.

“Kishoreganj people feel proud of Oscar-winning [filmmaker] Satyajit Ray for his paternal home located in the same district. They also feel proud of the sub-continent’s famous football star, Chuni Goswami. After the news of his death came in the media, it brought pall of grief in sports, political and civil society of Kishoreganj,” poet and cultural activist Shah Azizul Haque said in an obituary on facebook.

Azizul is also the public prosecutor and president of Kishoreganj District Bar. 

He confirmed Dhaka Tribune about Chuni’s birthplace in Joshodal Union, a renowned place also known to have given birth to Syed Nazrul Islam, the interim president during the Liberation War.

Azizul also informed that when Chuni was born, Joshodal was under Kishoreganj Mahkuma (Thana) of Mymensingh district in British India. 

Now it is under Jashadol union in Kishoreganj sadar upazila in Dhaka.

Chuni also coached Bagan and the Indian national side. 

He was honored with Best Striker award of Asia in 1962, Arjuna Award in 1963 and Padma Shri in 1983 for his services to the game. 

Among other expertise, he played hockey and lawn tennis at club level, acted in film and was also the Sheriff of Kolkata in 2005.

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