The Telegraph
Friday , January 25 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999

Mad about Batore Sporting Club

Dhananjay Ganguly at his desk. Picture by Anup Bhattacharya

Taneda in Calcutta Maidan breathes and lives his club that he built almost singlehandedly. Formally known as Dhananjay Ganguly, he never played ball but has sacrificed his life to build the football team of Batore Sporting Club. He says, “I am second to none in this respect. I have done a lot to keep this club going but have never asked for help from any one.” He joined the club as secretary in 1968 and till date holds that position. The club was established in 1927 by his elder brother Sital Chandra Ganguly.

When Dhananjay joined Batore Sporting Club, it was playing fifth division football. Since then, Ganguly’s untiring endeavour has been to bring it up in rank. He would travel to the most remote areas to find players for his club. “I have been to Midnapore, Arambagh and many other places, crossed rivers, waded through water and muck just to get a good player for the team. I went to Taki several times to get players and by the time I came back it would be close to 2.30 in the morning.” But Dhananjay’s passion for the club, though he has never played football, strikes as odd to many. But he answers, “If I played the game, I would be too busy practising and concentrating on my performance. Not being a player, helped me in contributing to my club.”

More about ganguly
DoB: January 1, 1939
Born in: Howrah
Education: B Com
Family: Wife
Loves: Learning new English words
Hates: Tobacco, lies

Dhananjay’s wife, Indrani has always supported him in his fight for the club. “She has helped me in taking care of the young players whom I brought from the districts. She and my mother had even washed the club jerseys,” said Ganguly. Young boys would take shelter at Ganguly’s Batore home where his wife would provide them with a heavy meal after practice. “I would take food packets of bread, bananas and eggs for the boys because they felt hungry after practice and there was no good food at the club tent,” said Ganguly.

Finances have always been a constraint for Ganguly but he never took anyone’s help. In the process, he has not saved a penny for himself.

Batore Sporting Club managed to reach first division in 2004 and beat Rajasthan Football Club, Sporting Union and other teams. However, players would leave the club as soon as they found better offers. “Many have left this club at the peak of their career to play for other teams. Aryan’s captain Pradeep Mukherjee played for Batore Sporting Club before he went there, Aidul Islam left to play for Mohammedan Sporting,” he lamented. Despite feeling cheated, Ganguly’s fight for the club continues even today when the club is playing third division.

Dalia Mukherjee