Kolkata, Mar 20: Pradip Kumar Banerjee, also known as ‘PK’, one of the most successful footballers in Indian football history and also a famous coach, passed away at a City Hospital here this afternoon at the age of 83.
According to Hospital sources, Banerjee was suffering from Sepsis and multi-organ failure due to pneumonia, with a background of Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Heart problems.
He was on ventilator support in the intensive care unit for more than two weeks. For the last few days he was in very critical condition. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar paid floral tributes to legendary footballer and Olympian PK Banerjee at his house.
Talking to his twitter handle, Mr Dhankhar said, “Paid floral tributes to legendary footballer and Olympian PK Banerjee at his house. An era has come to an end. Football is very special to West Bengal and PK very special to Football. Over fifty years after retirement he coached several generations of footballers. Has left a void.”
Earlier, the governor tweeted, “Deeply condole demise of legendary footballer and Olympian PK Banerjee. I visited 83 year old Asian Games gold medallist at the hospital a few days back. Pray ALMIGHTY to bestow eternal peace on the departed soul and courage to his family, friends and numerous fans to bear this loss.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was saddened at the passing away of football great PK Banerjee.
“Heartbroken & saddened at the passing away of football great PK Banerjee - Winner of Arjuna Award, Asian Games Gold, Centennial Order of Merit FIFA, Banga Bibhushan, 2-time Olympian & many more,” Ms Banerjee posted on her social networking page.
“PK Banerjee's unparalleled contribution to Indian football will be etched in our memories & he will continue to serve as an inspiration for generations to come. Condolences to fans, family and the sporting fraternity for this irreparable loss,” she added.
Senior CPI(M) leader Dr.Sujan Chakraborty in a tweet message said, “ The legendary player P K Banerjee passed away. Calcutta football has lost it’s guardian, the star of all times. Deeply saddened. Salute p k da.”
Mayor of Kolkata and State Minister in Charge - Urban Development & Municipal Affairs Firhad Hakim said, “One of the greats of Indian Football P.K Banerjee is no more. Saddened about his demise. He will remain immortal forever in the Indian sports fraternity. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. May his soul rest in peace. #RIP”
Team India Football captain Sunil Chhetri tweeted, “I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. PK Banerjee as well as to the entire Indian football fraternity. He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and his achievements will forever have a place in Indian footballing history. Rest in peace.”
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, “Lost a very dear person today .. someone who I loved and respected enormously.. someone who had so much influence in my career when I was an 18 year old boy .. his positivity was infectious .. may his soul rest in peace .. lost two vry dear persons this week.”
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar in a tweet message said, “Heartfelt condolences on the passing of the great Indian footballer PK Banerjee! Have fond memories of meeting him on a few occasions and the positivity he spread. May his soul Rest In Peace!”
Cricketer Wriddhiman Saha tweeted, “Extremely saddened to hear about the passing away of Legendary P.K.Banerjee. One of the greats of the Indian Football.
His contribution towards #IndianFootball will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace. #PKBanerjee #RIP.”
Born on June 23, 1936 in Maynaguri on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, Banerjee’s family relocated to his uncle’s place in Jamshedpur before partition.
He scored 65 international goals in 84 appearances for the national team and had been a football commentator and knew more than four languages fluently.
Besides winning the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1992, Banerjee led India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he scored the equaliser against a formidable French team in a 1-1 draw.
Before that, Banerjee represented India in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and played a key role in their 4-2 win over Australia in the quarterfinals.
Banerjee’s contribution to Indian football was duly recognised by the world governing body FIFA that awarded him the Centennial Order of Merit in 2004. (UNI)