Famed Bagan goalie Shibaji Banerjee dead

Kolkata, Feb 20 (IANS) Famed former soccer goalkeeper Shibaji Banejee, known for his proficiency in saving penalties, died here on Sunday night following a massive heart attack.

Banerjee, 68, is survived by his wife and son.

“Sad to hear about passing of popular former football goalkeeper Shibaji Banerjee. My condolences to his family, friends. We lost a great player,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Banerjee was part of Mohun Bagan’s three-man technical committee at the time of passing away.

A Bagan legend, Banerjee won 34 trophies with the club, also having the distinction of not conceding a goal against traditional city rivals East Bengal from 1977 to 1981.

Banerjee gained great popularity among the legion of football fans in Kolkata for his acrobatic saves, particularly during spot kicks.

Many a time, the coaches would send him in when tie-breakers seemed imminent to break the match deadlock. And on majority of occasions, he did not disappoint.

Banerjee is also fondly remembered for his performance against Brazilian legend Pele’s Cosmos in 1977 at the Eden Gardens and was a vital cog in Mohun Bagan’s wheel when the green and maroon brigade emerged joint-winners of the 1978 IFA Shield with Ararat Yerevan of the former USSR.

–IANS

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