The birth centenary of the first footballer to have scored a hat-trick in a Kolkata Derby football game, Amiya Deb, was observed peacefully in the city on Wednesday.
His family members and diehard fans of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club – the club for which Deb played – celebrated the centenary event quietly. Deb is remembered as an exceptional sportsperson and represented Mohun Bagan AC not only in football, but cricket and hockey as well. He also captained the cricket team.
Not only is Deb the first player to score a derby hat-trick against East Bengal FC, he was the only player to have scored four goals in a derby match in the 20th century.
It may be recalled that Bagan won the IFA Shield in 1911, defeating Eastern Yorks. Since then, the club had failed to win the trophy till 1947. Apart from the IFA Shield, the other well-known popular tournaments during the 20th century were Cooch Behar Cup, Darbhanga Shield, Lady Hardinge Shield and Raja Shield.
The first hat-trick in pre-Independence Indian soccer history goes back to 1934, when Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal 4-1 in the second round of the Darbhanga Shield. The match took place on September 5, 1934. Deb, popularly known as Kani, scored all four goals, two in each half.
The feat was not repeated by any Mohun Bagan player for the next 75 years. In 2009, Nigerian footballer Chidi Edeh scored four goals in an I-League game, where Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal 5-3.
In nine Kolkata derby matches between 1933 and 1937, Deb scored a staggering seven goals for Mohun Bagan. Bagan won eight of these matches, while the other ended in a draw.
Data from Abhik Dutta – an IT professional who is carrying out research on Kolkata Derby matches – shows Bagan’s overwhelming dominance over East Bengal.
Along with Deb, Karuna Bhattacharya, Anil Dey and Sayten Guin were the other stalwarts who donned the green and maroon jersey during the Golden Age of Mohun Bagan.
Deb was also a prolific scorer in the Cooch Behar Cup, Lady Hardinge Shield and Darbhanga Shield.