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Women’s football loses a friend

Calcutta, May 10: Hundreds gathered at the Salt Lake residence of the Banerjees early this morning to pay their last respects to Arati Banerjee, wife of football legend ‘PK’.

Arati, who passed away just after midnight (as reported briefly in Saturday’s Late City edition), was 58 and leaves behind her husband, two daughters and countless admirers. Arati was cremated this morning at Nimtala.

She was founder secretary of the state body and played a pivotal role in making women’s soccer a mainstream sport in the country.

Her contribution to the development of women’s soccer in India was recognised in 2001 when the Fifa and the IOC presented Arati a certificate of appreciation.

“It’s impossible to sum up Aratidi’s contribution to the game. Women’s football is where it is only because of her,” said Anita Sarkar, the first Indian woman to have obtained a coaching licence from the English FA.

All women’s league matches, scheduled for today, were cancelled as a mark of respect for Arati.

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