Olympian footballer Krisha Pal (lovingly called Kesto Pal) passed away after a prolonged illness in Kolkata on Wednesday morning. Pal, a centre-forward, was part of the 17-member strong Indian football team which made history by reaching the semifinals of the Melbourne Olympics.
Launching his career with a local club Juger Pratik, Pal went on to play for Mohun Bagan till he bid adieu to the game. He also played for Bhowanipore Club. He played for the country alongside PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami, Sailen Manna and other luminaries of Indian football.
Pal was suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the last two years and since last Sunday he was undergoing treatment at Kolkata's SSKM Hospital where he breathed his last at around 7 am on Wednesday.
Born in 1934, Pal was a rare footballer who used his superb header to score most of the goals for his country and the green-and-maroons as well. Pundits say he played a better brand of football when he turned out for Bhowanipore Club in 1952. He scored 14 goals for Bhowanipore.
It's needless to say how much the football fraternity in Kolkata mourned the death of Pal. From Chuni Goswami to Subrata Bhattacharya, everyone felt that this was a mammoth loss for Indian football.
Bhattacharya, hailing from the same locality as Pal, said he was inspired by Pal to play football. "I took to the ground hearing Kesto da's name, he was a father figure and whatever I have become as a footballer is because of that person," Bhattacharya said.
Goswami, however, was at a loss for words. "We have played together for Mohun Bagan for nearly six years. He was prolific scorer and his 'heading' was special. He was also a good right footer," Goswami reminisced.
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