Arts & Culture

Bidding Adieu to the First Poster Boy of Indian Football

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Remembering and looking back on the career of one of the most important influences to early Indian Football and a celebrity in his own right, Subimal Goswami.

Subimal Goswami, known lovingly by his fans as Chuni Goswami was a first class cricketer for Bengal and played football for India and Mohun Bagan FC. We take a look back at his career in football, where he earned major accolades for himself and the country.

Born in British India on the 15th January 1938, in the Bengal provinces, Chuni Goswami had grown up around football, so it came as no surprise when he joined the Mohun Bagan junior team at the age of 8.  There are many things about the great man that can fill with awe, including his football ability, but the love that he had for Mohun Bagan and his country was beyond description. A one club man, he stayed on at Mohun Bagan from 1946 to 1968, even though it is rumoured that he was approached by Tottenham Hotspur and other foreign clubs at the peak of his career.

In his career with Mohun Bagan FC, where he mostly played as a striker or winger, he has won the Calcutta Football League, Durand Cup, Rovers Cup, and IFA Shield several times in his career. He also cemented himself further in Mohun Bagan legend by being their highest ever scorer in the Calcutta Football League with 145 goals.

 His exploits for the Indian National Team will always be on the echelons of Indian Football History, playing 50 international games and scoring 9 goals, a lot of games for the time when he was a player. He captained India to her first Asian Games Gold Medal in 1962, and two silver medals in the 1964 Asia Cup And the Merdeka Cup.

While his career as a cricketer is not so often talked about, he was an accomplished all rounder for the Bengal team. In his 46 first class matches, he scored 1592 runs including one century and seven fifties and took 47 wickets. He has reached the Ranji trophy final twice, and notably when the West Indies team toured India in 1966, he was part of the combined East and Central Zone team in a friendly, where he took 8 wickets and his team pulled off a shock victory.

After his sad demise on 30th April 2020, we look at his life as a source of inspiration, for fellow sportspersons and all of us in general. His loyalty to his country and his club were commendable, even with temptations of playing abroad. It is this passion for one’s country that makes his legacy shine, and makes those in Bengal, especially supporters of Mohun Bagan FC, now one of the biggest clubs in Indian Football still hold up his posters and sing his names, because he represents more than the first successful Indian footballer, he represents that success can be achieved without having to take the foreign route.

Featured Image Credits: The Hindu

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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