Bhaichung Bhutia: Chuni Goswami, an icon of Indian football

Former India football captain Chuni Goswami, 82, passed away in Kolkata on Thursday after a prolonged illness.

Goswami is seen with President of India Dr. Radhakrishnan before the match between Mohun Bagan and Andhra Pradesh Police for Durand Cup Football Championship first match in New Delhi on December 11, 1963.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Bhaichung Bhutia paid his respects to former India football captain Chuni Goswami, who passed away in Kolkata on Thursday.

“It's a big loss for Indian football. He was an icon. Our generation and our fathers’ generation know of his contribution to Indian football. May his soul rest in peace,” Bhutia told Sportstar.

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He added, “He had never coached clubs (I played with) although he was associated with Mohun Bagan when I was playing there. I had the great opportunity to work with him and had a lot of long chats with him when he was one of the directors at Bagan.”

Goswami, who captained the Indian team to the gold medal at the 1962 Asian Games, had been suffering from underlying ailments with sugar, prostate, and nerve problems over the last few months.

Having made his international debut in 1957, Goswami was one of the biggest stars of the national team. However, he quit international football in 1964, at the age of 27.

He was a terrific cricketer as well and the crowning moment of his cricket career came in 1966 when he and Subroto Guha plotted the historic innings defeat of Gary Sobers’ West Indies by the combined Central and East Zone team under Hanumant Singh in Indore.

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Goswami had taken eight wickets in the match. He was then appointed the Bengal Ranji Trophy captain and the team reached the final in the 1971-72 season, where it lost to Bombay.

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