Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Award Name : Arjuna Award
Year of Award : 1961
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Jalpāiguri, Bengal, India
Pradip Kumar Banerjee or P.K. Banerjee as he is called often, is an Indian footballer. He made 84 appearances for India, scoring 65 goals during the course of his career. He was one of the first recipients of Arjuna Award, when the awards were instituted in 1961. He was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in 1990 and was named Indian Footballer of the 20th century by FIFA. He was born on 15 October 1936 in Jalpaiguri, Bengal Presidency, British India. P K Banerjee started his professional career in Jamshedpur, at the age of 18, in 1964 he moved to Kolkata and began playing for Mohan Bagan (Kolkata). Later in the highly competitive Calcutta League he excelled representing the Eastern Railways SC.
In the year1955 at the age of 19, Pradip Kumar Banerjee represented the Indian Football team in Quadrangular Football tournament held in Dhaka. At the age of 20 Banerjee was a member of the Indian team that finished fourth in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He had also captained the national team at the 1960 Rome Olympics. In Rome, though India failed to move from the group stage, they played inspirational soccer to hold the mighty France 1-1 through a goal from the captain himself. Banerjee played 84 international matches throughout his career and scored 65 goals in them. Banerjee also dazzled in the Asian arena as well, representing India in three Asiads in 1958 (Tokyo Asian Games), 1962 (Jakarta Asian Games) and 1966(Bangkok Asian Games) respectively. In the 1962 edition, India clinched the gold medal with Banerjee scoring against all the teams except the very first match against South Korea. India also won two silver medals in the Merdeka Cup held in Kuala Lumpur in the years 1959 and 1964 and a bronze in the year 1965 under his title. Pradip Kumar Banerjee retired in the year 1967 following a string of injuries.