Kapil Dev, Bhaichung Bhutia honoured at East Bengal's centenary celebrations

Kapil Dev, Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and P.K Banerjee were some of the stars felicitated at East Bengal's 100-year celebrations.

Bhaichung Bhutia and Kapil Dev at East Bengal's centenary celebrations at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.   -  PTI

East Bengal set off its centenary celebrations in style in a function that brought together stars from different disciplines, here at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

India’s first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev was one of the notable figures from the world of sport who were felicitated by the club on its 99th foundation day.

Kapil received the highest honour of the club – Bharat Gaurav – which came as an acknowledgement of his long association with the club. He turned out both for its cricket and football teams before his retirement in the early nineties.

“My teammates feared I may get injured when I decided to turn up for East Bengal. I said 'it does not matter’. Yes, I was not a footballer but came here to promote the sport,” he said about the Calcutta Football League derby match in 1992 when he briefly turned out in red and gold colours against arch rival Mohun Bagan.

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Former India footballer Bhaichung Bhutia in action for East Bengal in Durand Cup in 2003.   -  FILE PHOTO/ SANDEEP SAXENA



Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia was another big attraction as the club honoured him as the biggest find of the century. “I attribute all that I have achieved in football to East Bengal. This is the club that recognised my ability as a 16-year-old and introduced me to top-level football,” said Bhutia.

The current Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri, who represented East Bengal in 2008, was also felicitated by the club.

The biggest congregation of legends happened after this as Shyam Thapa, Surajit Sengupta, Mohammad Habib and Subhash Bhowmick joined on the podium to honour P.K. Banerjee, who was named the coach of the century.

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Indian national team skipper Sunil Chhetri, former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, and actor Soumitra Chatterjee at the 100-year celebrations.   -  PTI

 

The next to be honoured were the two stalwarts – Manoranjan Bhattacharya and Bhaskar Ganguly – who were given the lifetime achievement award.

The club also felicitated one of the most celebrated actors of Bengal, Soumitra Chatterjee, who is known as an avid East Bengal fan.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the celebrations and announced that the State Government will be organizing a special function dedicated to East Bengal completing a century.