The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father wants Subrata to quit football

Calcutta: 'We're leaving tonight itself' I'm coming back to you.' The conversation between Subrata Pal and his father over telephone on Sunday night, after the Federation Cup final, lasted for few more minutes, but there was more silence than words as both broke down in tears.

A day after Pal's fatal collision with Cristiano de Lima Junior , Pranballav Pal and his family were waiting, not for a hero's homecoming, but for a young man living through 'the most painful moment' of his life.

The game that has seen a meteoric rise for Subrata Pal, is no more wanted in his family.

'I don't want my son to play football again,' said Pranballav Pal, Subrata's father, on Monday.

'Never in our family has anyone decided to make a career out of a game. But all along football has been his passion' But today, I don't want him to go to the field with the ball in his hands. Let him come back and I'll tell him this' the 65-year-old said between sobs, while speaking to The Telegraph.

Subrata's family couldn't sleep last night ever since Junior's death following a collision with the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper was flashed on television during the Federation Cup final.

'We couldn't even eat' Junior was as much our son as Subrata is. My son is alive, but I can realise how much pain Junior's family is going through now,' said Laxmi Pal, the footballer's mother.

The residents of Natagar Parthapur, Sodepur, where Subrata ' their beloved Misthu, was born and brought up ' couldn't sleep as well.

'We all now want Mohun Bagan club and coach Subrata Bhattacharya to guide him properly. He needs thorough counselling,' demanded Subrata's friends, who always share his joys and disappointments. This, despite the fact that, most of them, including his family, are supporters of arch-rivals East Bengal.

'We are supporters of Nandu (Subrata's another nickname) whichever club he plays for,' said one of his friends.

They, however, never could recollect any incident about Subrata's violent conduct on the field before joining Mohun Bagan. 'He's always cool and composed, never loses temper. What happened to Junior was purely an accident. We're behind him,' remarked one of his neighbours.

As Subrata's conduct during the Durand Cup final was being questioned, (he was fined by Mohun Bagan for arguing with the referee, and also was charged with hitting East Bengal's Earnest Chukwuma Jeremia), Sujata, his sister, had a different tale to tell, though.

'At home, he always made us laugh with his gimmickry. But when he returned after the Durand Cup, he was so upset. He didn't speak to us properly initially. He was crying,' she recollected.

Subrata, 20 years of age, was noticed initially by Samir Chatterjee of local Sodepur Club. He moved to Tata Football Academy in 1999 before returning to the Maidan to play one season for Peerless.

The Mohun Bagan offer came thereafter and he decided to grab the opportunity with both hands. 'When at home, he's often snubbed for watching football on television late at night.

'He loves to live with football. He's already become an inspiration for quite a few young kids here. I don't know how he'll carry on after the Federation Cup,' said Pranballav.

His nickname of Misthu has been derived from the fact that his uncle owns a sweet shop in the locality. And his neighbours believe that the 20-year-old will get over the crisis and shine again.

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