Kolkata, (UNI): Celebrated Indian footballer of yesteryears Surajit Sengupta, rated as one of the most artistic wing forwards produced by the country, died at a private hospital here on Thursday following Covid19 complications, the attending doctor said.
Sengupta, 70, who was on ventilation support since January 29,breathed his last at
1-44 PM after a massive cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. He left behind his wife and a son.
Sengupta was admitted to the Peerless Hospital on January 23 after testing positive for the Coronavirus infection. His condition deteriorated within days and he gradually developed Covid encephalopathy and septicaemia that led to multi-organ failure.
The highly skillful footballer, whose artistic runs down the right flank and mesmerising dribble made him a crowd favourite in Kolkata as also the rest of the country in the 1970s and early 1980s, represented India in two Asian Games – at Tehran in 1974 and Bangkok in 1978.
Gifted with a razor-sharp intelligence and quick thinking prowess, Sengupta posed huge problems for rival defenders with his measured through passes and spectacular dribbles and would be unstoppable when at his best. Famed coach P K Banejee christened him a Australian phoenix bird, while various commentators often compared him to a dance teacher for the rhythm and grace in his on-field movements.
Sengupta, who turned out for all three soccer giants of Kolkata football – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting -represented Bengal in the inter-state national championship Santosh Trophy for years.
Born on August 30, 1951 in Hooghly district, Sengupta began plying his trade in the Kolkata Maidan in 1968 with Robert Hudson, and two years later joined Khidirpur – then a first division side.
He donned the Mohun Bagan jersey in 1972 and 1973, but crossed over to East Bengal the next year.
Sengupta’s six-year (1974-79) stint with East Bengal is regarded as the most sparkling in his playing career. He captained the club in 1978and also led Bengal to the Santosh Trophy title in 1976.
He played for Mohammedan Sporting in 1980, before returning to Mohun Bagan
before returning to old club Mohun Bagan and hung up his boots in 1983.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock at Sengupta’s demise.
” Lost veteran star footballer Surajit Sengupta today (Thursday). Heartthrob of football fans and an outstanding national sportsman as well as a perfect gentleman, he will ever be in our hearts. Deepest condolences,” Banerjee said on Twitter.