I-League club East Bengal made its ongoing centenary celebrations memorable by bringing together the living captains in a colourful function held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday. Thousands of fans across generations gathered to witness the unique occasion that presented a virtual football hall of fame.
From stalwarts of the 1960s and '70s like Sukumar Samajpati, Parimal Dey, Sudhir Karmakar, Samaresh Chowdhury, Surjoit Sengupta, Victor Amalraj, Manoranjan Bhattacharya and Bhaskar Ganguly to the stars of the new millennium like Suley Musah, S. Suresh, Alvito D’Cunha, Chandan Das and Gurwinder Singh, the evening presented a collage of resplendent memories to its supporters.
Brandon Vanlalremdika, the current captain, came last in line to complete a chronology of leaders, each of whom received a roar of approval from the galleries. The captains were felicitated by prominent invitees from other walks of life - eminent writers, theatre personalities and film directors - who are also East Bengal fans outside their vocations.
The prime attraction of the evening remained Iranian star Majid Bishkar, who was crowned the club's best foreign player of all time. Present along with the enigmatic Iranian playmaker was his compatriot Jamshed Nasiri. When Majid was asked to felicitate Jamshed, it brought back memories of the many triumphs the two had engineered for the side in the early part of the '80s.
Suley Musah, the Ghanaian stopper-back who stood like a rock in the East Bengal defence, reminded the fans of their team’s ASEAN Cup triumph in 2003. That was the first time an Indian club had won a major international trophy outside the country. The club also felicitated the coaches who were at the helm at different times.
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