AIFF Declares PK Banerjee’s Birthday as ‘Grassroots Day’
PK, who was well-known by this nickname, led the Indian team during the 1960 Rome Olympics and had a remarkable career as a player before transitioning to coaching, in which he also achieved a significant amount of success.
On Friday, the governing body of football in India, the All India Football Federation, announced that June 23, the birthday of Indian football legend Pradip Kumar Banerjee, will be recognized as ‘AIFF Grassroots Day’.
Banerjee, who was affectionately referred to as PK, served as the captain of the Indian team during the 1960 Rome Olympics and had a remarkable career as a player before transitioning to coaching, in which he also achieved a significant amount of success.
Statement by Shaji Prabhakaran
Explaining the reason behind choosing PK’s birthday, AIFF secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran said, “We often forget Pradip da was a teacher par excellence too. Once he hung up his boots, he took up coaching and for the next 30 years, produced an array of players, who excelled at the national and international levels.”
“While his role as a national and a club coach is much discussed, the Indian football fraternity cannot forget PK da’s contribution at the grassroots level, his leadership at the Tata Football Academy, his ability to inspire and fine-tune the budding talents.” An exemplary footballer, Banerjee played a pivotal role in India’s historic gold medal finish in the 1962 Asian Games.
Starting this June, #IndianFootball ⚽️ will mark legendary PK Banerjee’s birthday as ‘AIFF Grassroots Day’.
We take inspiration from Pradip da’s energy and enthusiasm and vow to constantly develop the game for our future talents.
Read 👉🏼 https://t.co/bEDB1fWPT1#Vision2047 👁️ pic.twitter.com/08i17ZAzHD
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) May 12, 2023
During the inaugural coaching course held in Japan by FIFA in 1969 and conducted by renowned German coach Dettmar Cramer, who was popularly known as the “football professor” in the global circuit, Banerjee enrolled himself and completed the course with top marks. His football coaching sessions were also aired on Doordarshan for several weeks.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey paid tribute to Banerjee, who passed away in March 2020, and pledged that the federation would strive to uphold his legacy by promoting the continuous development of the sport.
Statement by Kalyan Chaubey
“No words I use will be enough to honour Pradip da’s contribution to Indian football,” he said.
“He deserves all our appreciation. There are a rare few like him, a great player, a great mentor and a great coach who was filled with passion and always wanted to see Indian football rise.”
About PK Banerjee
Banerjee was born in Jalpaiguri and is considered to be one of the most celebrated football players in India. He holds the record for being the highest scorer in the country, having scored four goals that led the team to victory during the 1962 Asian Games.