Chuni Goswami was the most successful Indian football captain ever and under his captaincy, India won the gold medal in 1962 Asian Games and finished runners-up in the 1964 Asian Cup. However, his career was not limited to football only. Apart from football, Goswami excelled in cricket and tennis, so much so, that he could be given the title of 'the greatest Indian sportsman'.
Chuni Goswami's career as a footballer was no secret to anyone but Sambaran Banerjee, the former chief selector of the Indian Cricket team, remembers Goswami for his cricket sense too.
"I was very young when I joined Mohan Bagan. Remember that day, he (Chuni Goswami) was the captain of Mohan Bagan's cricket team. He was the captain of the Indian football team, won us the Asian Games in Jakarta. But, I remember his cricketing career too. He was a great middle-order batsman, a good mover of the bowl, and a decent fielder. His record against Western India Zone was great. When we won Ranji Trophy after 51 years, I was the captain of the Bengal Cricket team then, Chuni Da sent me 51 roses along with an appreciation letter. He was a good tennis player too." said the teary-eyed former Bengal Captain who won Bengal its only Ranji victory, post India's independence in 1947.
Chuni Goswami's connection with the iconic club Mohan Bagan is something that can be termed "historic". Something so grand, that the current administrators of the club who have not seen him create "magic" on-field are taken aback by the stories of his greatness. Srinjoy Bose, assistant general secretary of Mohan Bagan, called Goswami's game as a "fairy tale".
He said, "Chuni Goswami was an emotion. For Mohan Bagan, he was an institution. He was bigger than any matinee idol. When the ball used to be on his leg, it was a fairy tale. The biggest regret was that he couldn't go to his favourite ground, Mohan Bagan. We could not take him to the grounds in this situation."
Mr Bose also emphasized the greatness of Goswami as not only as a footballer but a sportsman. He stated that he had never heard of an individual who excelled in every sport that he played.
The iconic sportsperson breath his last after suffering a cardiac arrest in private hospital South Kolkata on Thursday.