Keshav Dutt, Prasun Banerjee chosen for Mohun Bagan Ratna
Kolkata: Two-time Olympic gold medallist Keshav Dutt and former India football captain Prasun Banerjee will be conferred the 'Mohun Bagan Ratna' during its annual day celebrations on July 29, the club said on Monday.
Mohun Bagan will also felicitate pacer Mohammed Shami, India's hat-trick hero of the 2019 ICC World Cup, while Ashok Chatterjee will be given the Lifetime Achievement award.
The Mariners will also give Life Memberships to Sourav Ganguly, Chuni Goswami, Dr Vece Paes, Prasenjit Chatterjee and Deb Shankar Halder.
One of the oldest surviving hockey Olympians of the country, 94-year-old Dutt donned the national jersey in the 1948 London Games, where India won the first gold post Independence, and the former centre halfback won his second Olympic gold in Helsinki 1952.
This is for the first time Mohun Bagan's executive committee has decided to confer their highest honour to a non-footballer.
Younger brother of the legendary P K Banerjee, footballer-turned-politician Prasun was part of the feted midfield trio also comprising Parminder Singh and Prashanta Banerjee.
The creative midfielder from Bengal was an integral part of the Indian team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.
In 2013, he became a Trinamool Congress MP from the Howrah Sadar constituency, becoming the first professional footballer to be a Member of Parliament.
July 29 is celebrated as the 'Mohun Bagan Day' because on this day in 1911, the Mariners became the first club to defeat a British club, East Yorkshire Regiment, and lift the IFA Shield.
Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan had their first training session at their ground after a pre-season training camp in Goa, and the newly-recruited Spaniard duo of Fran Morante and Salva Chamorro were the cynosure of all eyes.
Roped in to strengthen the defence, Morante said: "I will work very hard to keep the defence tight as per the coach's (Kibu Vicuna's) strategy."
Last season, the former I-League champions finished fifth in the table, losing their derby matches to East Bengal.
"We need to win the derby... this will be a different season," the former Internacional de Madrid defender in the Segunda Division B, said.
With his former Real Murcia teammate Borja Gomez back at rival East Bengal, Morante is looking forward to the duel.
Mohun Bagan will kick off the season against I-League second division side Mohammedan Sporting in the Durand Cup opener at the Salt Lake Stadium on August 2.