Amid football frenzy, state govt to celebrate birth anniversary of legendary footballer Gostha Pal
Kolkata: In yet another move to revive the popularity of football in Bengal, the state government has decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of legendary footballer Gostha Pal in all district libraries.
The initiative has been taken by none other than Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This coincides with the event when the state government is hosting the greatest international football extravaganza — the Under-17 World Cup football tournament at Yuva Bharati Krirangan in October.
Mamata Banerjee has described the event as "a huge gain for the city. Without sports life is incomplete."
The Sports department is giving footballs to all the clubs, colleges and universities to revive the popularity of the game. The state government has started manufacturing footballs which will be sold commercially.
On Friday, a seminar on the life and career of Gostha Pal was held at the seminar hall of South-24 Parganas district library. The speakers included football researcher Subhrangshu Roy of Sonarpur Mahavidyalaya, Nilangshu Pal, Gostha Pal's son, Rupak Saha and Nirmal Nath, two veteran sports journalists and Professor Ujjal Roy, principal of Sonarpur Mahavidyalaya.
The attendance of young football enthusiasts was very impressive. It may be mentioned that in the past few years, the turn out of football spectators including women fans to watch club matches has gone up remarkably.
Born on August 20, 1896 in Faridpur now in Bangladesh, Gostha Pal joined Kumartuli AC at the age of 11 years. He joined Mohun Bagan club at the age of 16. Nicknamed Chinese Wall, Pal became the captain of Mohun Bagan in 1921. He was the captain of the Indian national squad and retired in 1935. He was the first footballer to be awarded Padmashree in 1962. A road in the Maidan area has been renamed after him where a statue has been installed.