Surajit Sengupta’s death has left former teammate Bhaskar Ganguly heart-broken.
“Bishuda (Sengupta’s nickname) was a like a big brother to me. When I came to East Bengal in 1976 my confidence was at its lowest ebb. The Derby debacle of the previous year (East Bengal won 5-0 in the IFA Shield final in September 1975 and Ganguly had let in four) had battered me. East Bengal were a star-studded team that season. Surajit Sengupta, Samaresh Choudhury, Shyamal Ghosh, Sudhir Karmakar. Bishuda mingled with the juniors, particularly me, and that helped us.
“After practice sessions he used to spend hours with me, taking shots and asking me to hone my skills. He was the guiding force behind my success as a goalkeeper. There were many great players and there will be more in our country. But Bishuda was a great player as well as a fantastic human being. That’s why he stood out,” Ganguly told The Telegraph on Thursday.
“Players like Surajit Sengupta, Subhas Bhowmick (who passed away last month) do not come very often. Bishuda’s game sense was amazing. If you ask me, he was one of the finest footballers to play the game in our country. His skills were unmatched. The goal he scored against South Korea XI in the 1979 IFA Shield semi-final was out of this world,” the former India captain said.
Ganguly also set the record straight on the 1980 exodus from East Bengal to Mohammedan Sporting. “He did not have any role to play in my decision to join Mohammedan Sporting. We all were mature players and took our own decisions. Not once did he try to influence me,” he asserted.