Full Name: Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Born: October 15, 1936, Jalpaiguri, Bengal
Major Teams: Aryan Club, Eastern Railway SC, India
Playing Position: Striker
Member of the Indian team that finished fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Won gold medal in 1962 Asian Games
First-ever Footballer to receive the Arjuna Award (1961)
Pradip Kumar Banerjee, generally known as P.K. Banerjee has been an Indian Football player and is considered to be one of the all time best Football players from India.
He was born on 15th of October 1936 at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Banerjee received his education at H.P.M. School in Jamshedpur, and started playing as a Right Winger for the state Football team of Bihar in his teenage. He represented the state in Santosh Trophy at the age of 15 years.
Banerjee moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the year 1954 when he was 18 years old, and began playing for the Mohun Bagan club. Further, he left the club and joined Eastern Railway Soccer Club. He used to play as the Striker in the game of Football.
P.K. Banerjee represented the Indian Football squad for the first time at the age of 19 years in 1955, in Quadrangular Football tournament held in Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
At the age of 20 years, Banerjee became an Olympian by representing the Indian team in the Melbourne Olympic Games 1956. In the Rome Olympic Games 1960, he served as the Captain of the Indian Football team and scored a famous goal against the powerful team of France, leading the match to a draw by 1-1.
Further, he also played in 3 Asian Games as a part of the Indian Football team, which were Tokyo Asian Games 1958, Jakarta Asian Games 1962 (where the Indian Football team won the Gold Medal) and Bangkok Asian Games 1966. Apart from it, he played for India in the Merdeka Cup tournament held in Kuala Lumpur thrice, in the years 1959, 1964 and 1965. The team was able to win a Silver Medal in the first two attempts, while it could just grab a Bronze in the third one. Talking of the overall performance of P.K. Banerjee as a Football player at the international level, he played in a total number of 84 international matches throughout his career, and scored 65 goals in them.
A string of injuries affected the regularity of Banerjee as a Football player forcing him to leave the National Football team and finally leading him to retire from active Football in the year 1967. After his retirement, P.K. Banerjee became a very acclaimed Football coach, and guided the teams such as East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to improve their performance and win a number of trophies. In the year 1972 he became a coach for the National Football team of India, and continued the job till the year 1986. Further, he served as the Technical Director of the Tata Football Academy Jamshedpur since the year 1991 till 1997.
P.K. Banerjee was one of the first Indian players who received the coveted Arujna Award in 1961, the inaugural year of the award. He has also been conferred upon Padma Shri in 1990, and Indian Footballer of the 20th Century by FIFA (International Federation of Association Football). In the year 2004, FIFA also bestowed upon him their highest award, FIFA Centennial Order of Merit.