So long, Chuni! Legendary footballer Goswami was also a first-class cricketer

Updated: May 01, 2020, 08:19 IST | Clayton Murzello, Debasish Datta, PTI | Kolkata

Legendary footballer Goswami, who captained India to an Asian Games gold medal in 1962 and represented Bengal in first-class cricket, bids goodbye at 82

Chuni Goswami
Chuni Goswami

A little over a month after PK Banerjee's death, Indian football has lost another legend. On Thursday, Chuni Goswami, 82, who captained the 1962 Asian Games gold-winning team and also played first-class cricket, died here, survived by wife Basanti and son Sudipto.

"He suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital at around 5pm," a family source told PTI.

Goswami reportedly had blood sugar, prostrate and nerve-related issues.

Subimal 'Chuni' Goswami was born in the Kishoreganj district of undivided Bengal, now Bangladesh. The star striker figured in 50 international games from 1956 to 1964. He was part of the Indian team for the 1960 Olympics in Rome. His crowning moment came when he led India to an Asian Games gold medal in 1962 in Jakarta, two years before being part of the silver-winning team at the Asia Cup in Israel.

On the cricket turf, he represented Bengal in 46 first-class games between 1962 and 1973. He was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1963 and Padma Shri in 1983. The Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp on his 82nd birthday in January to recognise his contribution to the game in the country.

A section of Mumbai cricket followers will remember Goswami's 96 (13x4) and 84 (10x4) against Ajit Wadekar's team in the 1968-69 Ranji Trophy final at the Brabourne Stadium where Mumbai claimed honours. "Chuni was more than a decent batsman, who had a good defensive approach. He was a fielder whom batsmen had to watch carefully. Being a footballer, he was agile and was exceptional at cover point and extra cover," recalled former Mumbai captain Sudhir Naik. Dilip Doshi, the ex-Test spinner, who played alongside Goswami for Bengal, also recalled those two innings at Brabourne. "Chuni da stood up to the occasion and played two sterling knocks. His will to fight it out was infectious and as a footballer and India's captain as well, we learnt the fitness attitude from him as youngsters. He had a great sense of humour which he timely applied to release tension in the dressing room," remarked Doshi.

Chinu Goswami
Chinu Goswami

Former India captain Gundappa Viswanath, who like Goswami, was employed by the State Bank of India, rued the fact that they did not play together because of his (Viswanath's) international commitments. "Unfortunately, that opportunity never came because it would have been a pleasure to rub shoulders with such a versatile sportsperson, known also for his football talent. I will miss our dinner parties which he always planned as soon as I landed in Kolkata. Another regret is not attending his 80th birthday celebrations as I was ill at that time" Viswanath told mid-day from Bangalore.

Tweet talk

Praful Patel @praful_patel:

Another legendary Indian Footballer and a fine first class cricketer has left us today. Rest in eternal peace Shri. Chuni Goswami. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.#ChuniGoswami #RIPLegend #IndianFootball @IndianFootball

President of India (Kovind)@rashtrapatibhvn:

Sad to hear about the passing of Chuni Goswami. In his demise India’s football fans have lost a legend. A versatile sportsman, he was a star in his own right. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers

BCCI @BCCI:

BCCI mourns the death of Subimal ‘Chuni’ Goswami, an all-rounder in the truest sense. He captained the Indian national football team & led to them to gold in the 1962 Asian Games. He later played first-class cricket for Bengal & guided them to the final of Ranji Trophy in 1971-72

Sunil Chhetri @Chetrisunil11:

We’ve lost one of the leading lights of Indian sport today. Not too many can boast of being top-notch in two different sports. You played your part to the fullest, rest well, Chuni sir. Strength to
the family

With inputs from PTI, Clayton Murzello and Debasish Datta

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