Mohun Bagan Ratna 2021
Gurbux Singh was born on 11th February, 1936 in Peshawar, present Pakistan. His father Kartar Singh was an officer at Army Hospital and also a hockey player. After partition of India Gurbax Singh’s family settled in Lucknow. He grew up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and represented Agra University in 1954/55. The following year he was part of the team that won prestigious Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup. After completing his education in Punjab University he shifted base to Kolkata in 1957 and started playing hockey. The same year, at an age of 21, he was selected for Bengal hockey team.
In 1968 he joined Mohun Bagan and sported the Green & Maroon jersey till 1980. In 1960 he made his first appearance for the Indian national team, during a tour of Australia and New Zealand. He was member of the national team when it won Gold medal in 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He also played in 1966 Bangkok Asian Games when India defeated Pakistan in final to win first Gold medal in Asian Games. In 1968 he was captain of both Mohun Bagan and Indian team, which went on to win Bronze medal in 1968 Olympics under his leadership. 1968 to 1980 was a golden age of Mohun Bagan hockey team. Mohun Bagan won First Division hockey league nine times and lifted the prestigious Beighton Cup nine times. In 1969 Mohun Bagan achieved a unique feat of winning every competition in Kolkata in football, cricket and hockey.
Even after retirement he was closely involved with Mohun bagan. In 1970s and 1980s he played the role of a player, coach as well as umpire. In 1983 he was part of the selection committee for Indian national team. In 1983 World Cup and Champions Trophy he was manager of the national team. He coached the French team in 1974/75 and Indian team in 1976 Montreal Olympics. He received umpiring badge from International Hockey Federation in 1981. He also acted as an umpire in 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. He is well known as a commentator and for his articles in different newspaper and magazines. In 2017 his autobiography “My Golden Days” was published. He received a number of awards in his career including Arjuna Award in 1967.
Gurbux Singh has received the prestigious Mohun Bagan Ratna award in 2020.
Palash Nandi was born on 17th July, 1952. He had a great knack in sports from his childhood. His journey in cricket started with childhood coach Pulak Biswas. In 1969 while he was playing in Aryans Club he was inducted in the Bengal team. Thanks to his performances as a right handed batsman and an off break bowler, he was recruited by Mohun Bagan in 1974 from Kalighat Club.
He captained Mohun Bagan cricket team in 1976. In 1977 he left the club but returned to Mohun Bagan in 1980. Mohun Bagan official Chitrak Mitra played a vital role in bringing him back to the club. Palash Nandi then went on to stay in Mohun Bagan from 1980 till 1994. He was a favourite of club secretary Dhiren Dey. During his time in Mohun Bagan, the club won CAB League eleven times, including a number of continuous winning streaks. Mohun Bagan also won CAB Senior Knockout nine times, P Sen eleven times, JC Mukherjee eight times and AN Ghosh trophy.
He represented Bengal from 1969/70 season to 1981/82 season. He played a number of memorable knocks for Bengal. In first class cricket he amassed 3208 runs, at an average of 41 with an highest score of 205. He was the coach of Bengal after retiring as a player. As coach of Mohun Bagan cricket team from 2009 to 2017 he was part of a number of memorable victories. His brother Pranab Nandi is also a successful cricketer and coach. He was manager to the Bengal team in 1989/90 when Bengal captured the Ranji Trophy for the last time. In 2017 he was given the Lifetime Achievement award by CAB. He was selected as the chairperson for the selection panel of the senior team by CAB in 2018. He also has a keen interest in football and cordial relationships with many contemporary footballers.
Palash Nandi has received the prestigious Mohun Bagan Ratna in 2020.
Keshav Datt one of the finest hockey players the country produced, born on 29th December,1925 in Lahore which was part of India then. Product of Government College, Lahore, Keshav Datt had excelled in multiple sports like Badminton, Athletics in his childhood days. He came to limelight for his skills in hockey at very young age and famous hockey players like KD Singh, Dhyanchand had mentored him. He had a rare distinction of playing National Championship for Punjab Bombay and Kolkata.
He was a member of 1947 hockey squad which visited East Africa under the leadership of hockey maestro Dhyanchand. After partition Keshav Datt moved to India. He was chosen to don national colors in the 1948 London Olympics where India won its first gold medal after Independence.
In 1950 he moved to Kolkata from Mumbai. The owner of Broadway hotel, Iqbal Singh had requested him to play hockey for Calcutta Port Commissioners. While playing for Calcutta Port Commissioners he impressed famous actor and Mohun Bagan Hockey Secretary of that time Jahar Ganguly. He joined Mohun Bagan in 1951 to respect the wishes of Jahar Ganguly and played till 1960. In 1952 Mohun Bagan achieved first double in hockey when they lifted Beighton Cup for the first time along with Calcutta Hockey league.
Keshav Datt, one of the finest center halfbacks was selected for 1952 Helsinki Olympics squad as well. India won gold by beating Netherlands 6-1 in the final. Keshav Datt who was vice captain of the team, took part in all the games. He was selected for 1956 Melbourne Olympics squad as well but he had to opt out due to his professional commitments to Brooke Bond. He was made captain of Mohun Bagan hockey squad from 1951-1953 and again in 1957-1958. As a Mohun Bagan player he won hockey league 6 times and Beighton Cup 3 times in a span of 10 years. He is perhaps one of the oldest surviving hockey Olympian in the country today.
Mohun Bagan is honoured to confer Keshav Datt with Mohun Bagan Ratna award for 2019. He is first Mohun Bagan Ratna who was not associated with football.
PRASUN BANERJEE was given the nickname ‘Neto’ by his elder brother, famous footballer and successful coach P.K.Banerjee, after the captain of the USSR team that had come to play in India in 1955. Prasun started his football career not as a midfielder, but as a forward in the Mansion ground of the Railway Quarters, Dhanbad. Later Sujon Chakraborty brought him to George Telegraph, his first club in Kolkata Maidan.
After playing for a couple of years, Banerjee in search of better prospects joined Khidirpore. Bhootnath Biswas, the all-in-all owner of Khidirpur team, left no stone unturned to bring in the best talents or his team. After seeing him play in a few matches, the then coach Achyut Banerjee, whom Prasun considered to be his mentor, brought about a change that completely turned his football career around by turning him into a midfielder. In that year, Prasun played alongside another famous midfielder Goutam Sarkar.
In 1973, while still playing for Khidirpore, he netted a goal against East Bengal. The news of his performance spread far and wide. In the same year, he got a chance to play for India in Asian Youth Football Championship. With him playing a vital role, India finished as joint winner in 1974 Asian Youth Championship, India’s best finish in that tournament till date. In 1975 in the same tournament, Banerjee was an important member of the Indian team that became runners up in a 2-2 draw match against Iran in Thailand. He was selected in the Indian team for the Merdeka tournament in 1974.
In 1974, Prasun Banerjee joined Mohun Bagan and played alongside Ratan Dutta, Subrata Bhattacharya etc. Though he could not play too well initially, very soon he became the king of the midfield. Banerjee became an indispensable member of the Mohun Bagan squad. In 1975, Bagan brought home the Bordului trophy by defeating Punjab XI. The winning goal was scored by Prasun Banerjee.
The golden era of Mohun Bagan started in 1976, when his elder brother PK Banerjee joined as coach. Mohun Bagan won League, Shield, Durand, Rovers multiple times. In 1977, the team won all the three major trophies. In 1978, Banerjee was made the club captain. Under his efficient captaincy, Mohun Bagan won the Sait Nagjee trophy at the very start of the season. By scoring a record 79 goals Mohun Bagan won CFL in 1978. Mariners also became Federation Cup champions for the first time at Coimbatore in same year. In IFA Shield final, Bagan drew 2-2 with Ararat Yerevan, the terrific team from Soviet Union and were declared joint winners. Along with club football, Banerjee got a permanent position in the national team and represented India in Asian Games in Bangkok in 1978.
In 1979, through Prasun’s excellent free-kick Mohun Bagan won Durand Cup final against Punjab Police. The Prasun-Goutam duo of Mohun Bagan midfield was by then considered to be best in India. After playing in Mohun Bagan from 1974 to 1980, Prasun Banerjee joined Mohammedan Sporting in 1981 and played a vital role in making the team League champions after 13 long years.
In the following year, he came back to Mohun Bagan. In his second stint with Bagan, the team brought home Durand, League, Shield and Federation Cup. During the same time, Prasun represented India in Merdeka Cup in 1981 and 1982, 1982 Nehru Gold Cup,. He scored two goals in the 1982 Delhi Asian Games. In 1984, he joined Mohammedan Sporting again and played a pivotal role in their Federation Cup win.
From 1974 to 1979 and in 1982, Prasun Banerjee was a member of Bengal Santosh Trophy team. In 1979, Bengal won Santosh Trophy under his able captaincy. In 1980, he was given the prestigious Arjuna award for his contribution to football. The credit of being the first footballer to become a Member of Parliament also goes to Prasun Banerjee.
Mohun Bagan is honoured to confer Prasun Banerjee with Mohun Bagan Ratna award for 2019.
Pradip Chowdhury, who was a vital cog in defence alongside Subrata Bhattacharya joined Mohun Bagan ranks in 1976. He started his career in Harwood league in Mumbai for new India Assurance and his solid performance earned him a place in renowned outfit Mafatlal Sports. After spending couple of seasons with them he got a lucrative offer and joined Tata Sports club where his life flourished as a player. During that period Tata Sports defeated mighty Mohun Bagan twice. He got an offer from Mariners through Sailen Manna and decided to switch his allegiance to Green and Maroon in 1976. It was a dream come true for Chowdhury,the die-hard Mohun Bagan supporter since childhood. He played for Mohun Bagan from 1976-1981. Sound physique and clear tackling was his assets. He was named captain of Mohun Bagan on 1981. Under his captaincy Mohun Bagan won Federation Cup, Nagji Trophy, Rovers Cup and IFA shield.
He played for India in international arena in different tournaments which includes Asian Games in 1974, Mardeka tournament etc. He was inducted in Indian team in 72-73 season under the coaching of Arun Ghosh. Later on he became the captain of Indian national team as well.
The true gentleman Pradip Chowdhury was conferred Mohun Bagan Ratna on 2018.
Subrata Bhattacharya (born on 1953) famously known as Bablu spent 17 long years in Mohun Bagan. He moved to Mohun Bagan in 1974 from BNR. The inclusion of Subrata Bhattacharya bolstered Mohun Bagan defence and gritty display by him throughout his career helped Mohun Bagan to win many silverware. 41 goals he scored for Mohun Bagan in crucial matches added a new dimension to his playing style. The stoic personality of this lanky defender made him the crowd puller during his playing days.
A Bagan loyalist throughout his career captained Mariners against famous Cosmos team in 1977, which consisted of many star players including Pele. Mohun Bagan held Cosmos to a 2-2 draw. Under his able captaincy Mohun Bagan won ‘Triple crown” (Durand, Rovers & Shield) in 1977.
He played a pivotal role in national colours, playing 41 matches and was part of the 1984 Asian Cup team. He got the Arjuna award in 1989.
After his retirement he started his coaching life and won plenty of accolades for Mohun Bagan. He was the chief architect behind winning two National Leagues in seasons 1999-00 and 2001-02.
The so called “Ghorer Chele” was aptly awarded Mohun Bagan ratna in 2017.
Sayed Nayeemuddin (born on 1944), popularly known as Nayeem is an epitome of dedication on and off the field. Belonging to a football family from Hyderabad Nayeem tasted his first big success for Andhra Pradesh in National Championship when they beat mighty Bengal 1-0.
He played for all 3 big clubs of Kolkata Mohun Bagan , East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. He plied his trade for Mohun Bagan for 2 consecutive years 1968-1969. He was a revelation in 1969 shield final when Mariners demolished arch rival East Bengal by 3-1 margin. In 1973 he returned In Green & Maroon colours. After a not so successful season he became captain of Mohun Bagan on 1974 and under his able captaincy Mohun Bagan won Durand Cup title after a long gap of 9 years.
He had a successful career for Indian national team as well and the greatest feat of his illustrious national career is 1970 Asian Games bronze medal beating mighty Asian countries. He was the captain of the Indian side.
After retirement he played the role of coach. Dedication, Determination and Discipline were the key to his success and he followed the same key principles during his coaching career as well. In no time he started to win silverware as a coach. Under his coaching Mohun Bagan won eight trophies in a span of one and half year during early nineties including Federation Cup, Rovers Cup, Calcutta League, Shibdas Bhaduri trophy.
He has the unique distinction to get Arjuna and Dronacharya Award (reserved for coaches). He was the first footballer to achieve that feat.
He was given Mohun Bagan Ratna in 2016.
Karuna Sankar Bhattacharya was a former Indian footballer who represented and captained the Indian football team and Mohun Bagan.
Karuna Sankar (Habla) Bhattacharya represented Mohun Bagan for 9 consecutive seasons from 1930 onwards. He played in Mohun Bagan alongside legendary players like Gostha Pal, Umapati Kumar, Dr. Sanmatha Dutta, Bimal Mukherjee, Satu Chowdhury among many others. From 1938 onwards he played for a few years with Customs.
After brushing up his football skills under the coaching of Dukhiram (Umesh Chandra) Majumdar, Karuna Sankar Bhattacharya started his football career in Aryan before joining Mohun Bagan in 1930. He scored several important goals in his football career while playing as the right-in in the 2-3-5 formation.
He was the Captain of the Indian team that went to Australia in 1938. He also was part of the Indian team that played against the Olympic team of China in 1936. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with India playing their hearts out.
Karuna Bhattacharya also was part of several Indians vs Europeans football match from 1931 to 1939. During this period, he played against the Europeans in 1932 (5-0), 1933 (2-1), 1935 (5-0), 1937 (1-0), 1938 (0-1), and 1939 (2-2). In this series which was held once a year, Karuna Bhattacharya scored in 1932 (2 goals), 1935 (2 goals), 1939 (1 goal). He also was part of the IFA XI side that went to a Sri Lanka and South Africa tour in 1933 and 1934 respectively.
After retiring from football, he became the Football Secretary of Mohun Bagan in 1955 and 1961 and also worked as the Tennis Secretary in 1954. He also was the Manager of the Green and Maroon brigade in several tournaments including Far East tour in 1956, tour of East Africa in 1961 and tour of Sri Lanka in 1968. He was the first footballer who also worked as an English commentator. He along with Badal Bhowmick and Nirmal Mukherjee formed the “Veterans Club”.
Mohun Bagan conferred the “Mohun Bagan Ratna” to Karuna Bhattacharya in 2015.
Isaiah Arumaiynayagam has been a loyalist of the Green and Maroon brigade. The Bangalorean played in Mohun Bagan from 1961 to 1968. Immediately on his arrival in 1961, he left mark with his performance. He used to play as the left out in 3-2-5 formation and was called “Baby Taxi” for his blistering runs down the flank.
It was his stellar performance for Mysore in the Santosh Trophy that caught the attention of Mohun Bagan officials. In 1961 Arumaiynayagam officially joined the Mariners and was included for a tour to East Africa where he scored 7 goals. Under his captaincy in 1968, Mohun Bagan won the Rovers Cup and the Amrita Bazar Centenary Tournament defeating East Bengal 2-0 in the group league match. The 13 tournaments that Mohun Bagan won during his 8 years stint at the club are – IFA Shield (1961, 1962, 1967), Durand Cup (1963, 1964, 1965), Rovers Cup (1966, 1968), Calcutta Football League (1962, 1963, 1964, 1965), Amrita Bazar Centenary Trophy (1968). As a winger Arumaiynayagam formed one of India’s best attacking combinations alongside Chuni Goswami and Dipu Das. A hattrick of Durand Cup triumphs are the best example of their exploits.
Arumainayagam was also a part of the Asian Games Gold medal winning team in 1962. Mohun Bagan awarded him the “Mohun Bagan Ratna” in 2014.