Chuni Goswami, legendary football captain and Bengal cricketer, dies at 82

Chuni Goswami captained India's 1962 Asian Games gold-winning team. Indranil Bhoumik//Mint via Getty Images

Former India footballer Subimal "Chuni" Goswami, who captained the 1962 Asian Games gold-winning team, died in Kolkata on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 82 and had been suffering from underlying ailments, including sugar, prostate and nerve problems. He is survived by his wife Basanti and son Sudipto.

Goswami was among the rare sportsmen who played more than one sport at the highest levels; not only was he among India's greatest ever footballers, he played first-class cricket for Bengal and captained them to the final of the Ranji Trophy in 1971-72.

Goswami played 50 matches for India as a footballer from 1956-64 and represented Bengal in 46 first-class games between 1962-73. He was part of the Indian team that participated in their fourth successive Olympics campaign in Rome in 1960 -- they would hold France to a scored draw -- and the same team, under coach Syed Abdul Rahim won their second and final Asian Games football gold, in Jakarta in 1962.

Goswami also captained India when they won second place in the AFC Asian Cup in 1964, their best ever showing in the continental competition.

Goswami's death comes soon after that of PK Bannerjee, his contemporary and fellow forward in the India team of the 1950s and 60s that is acknowledged as the best to have represented the country. He played in the inside left position and, according to his profile in the official Mohun Bagan website, was known for his ball control and dribbling skill.

On the Calcutta (as it was then) Maidan, he played for Mohun Bagan - from the junior team, aged 8, till his retirement in 1968. He captained them from 1960 to 1964, a period when they won three successive Durand Cups and four successive Kolkata League titles.

Goswami was an allrounder on the cricket field too; a right-hand bat who bowled right-arm medium and, apparently, was known for his fast inswingers. Though he failed to shine in the Ranji final where he captained Bengal, he played another, in 1968-69, and scored 96 and 84. He played 46 matches for Bengal, taking 57 wickets and scoring 1592 runs with one century.