The All India Football Federation on Friday hailed the legendary footballer and former India captain Chuni Goswami, who passed away on Thursday, as one of the greatest ever Indian footballers, "whose contribution, integrity, and loyalty to his club and the country were matchless."
In an exclusive video to Republic TV, AIFF Secretary-General Kushal Das said, “Chunni Da was an icon. Although I never saw him play, I had heard a lot from my elders about his scintillating skills and his commanding personality on the field. It is no wonder he captained the national team as well as Mohan Bagan (club) for so many years.”
Kushal Das added that Chuni Goswami had turned down many offers during his career, including the Tottenham Hotspur. Das also said that the legend was not actively involved in modern Indian football, as it required a lot of learning and effort, given that the game has evolved drastically over the years. Goswami had told Das that he had a great time during his career as a player and wished to spend time with his family and friends.
Recalling his words regarding Indian football, Das said, “Chunni Da was very clear that the national team would become better only if there is a long league. India has delayed the league for a long time, that is why other countries have gone ahead.”
During his last meeting with the football legend in 2017, Kushal Das said that Chuni Da appreciated AIFF’s efforts in introducing national league for under fifteen. “The best thing that could have happened to Indian football is the national league under thirteen and under fifteen,” Das quoted Goswami as saying.