PK Banerjee's contribution to football, legacy unmatched, says Harjinder Singh

New Delhi [India], Mar 22 (ANI): Former India football player Harjinder Singh offered his tribute to PK Banerjee stating that he was a man of football and his legacy will be unmatched.

His remarks came as Banerjee passed away on March 20 at a private hospital in Kolkata.

"Banerjee's death came as a big shock to me. I was instantly reminded of the wonderful memories we shared. All of it came flooding back to me -- the places we went to, the conversations we had, the things we achieved -- all of it was flashing before my eyes," AIFF quoted Harjinder as saying.

"He was a man of football and because of it both of us had a solid bond. His contribution to the sport is unmatched," he added.

Harjinder represented India from 1974 to 1983 and he went to play in two Asian Games (1978 & 1982). He was a part of the Indian side that won the Asian Youth Championships in 1974 and was subsequently named in the Asian All-Stars

"Nowadays, coaches have a lot of exposure, but in our time, it was limited in comparison. I have trained under a number of excellent coaches in my career but PK Banerjee was the best I have played under. The knowledge of football he had and the manner way he spoke made him stand out," Harjinder said.

"Honestly, I have never seen anything like it. When he used to speak, it was so powerful and everyone used to be all ears," Harjinder, currently working as Head Coach at the Chandigarh Football Academy opined.

Harjinder made a move to East Bengal in 1979 after a number of years in Punjab. However, it was Banerjee's presence that allowed him to adjust quickly to life in Bengal.

"When I went to Calcutta, I started having a few injury problems. I remember each and every scene of how worried Mr Banerjee was because of my injury and how he used to follow up on my check-ups and status daily. He used to say 'Mujhe Harjinder fit chahiye hi chahiye' (I want Harjinder to get fit quickly). He made sure personally that I was taken care of well and made me feel valued," Harjinder mentioned.

"There is intense pressure on the coaches in Bengal and the rivalry between the clubs is just zabardast. With a new signing and key player injured, any coach can come under pressure. However, Mr. Banerjee remained composed and stood by me," he added.

Banerjee took over the reins as India coach in 1981 for the Merdeka Cup, where India reached the semis after defeating the UAE and Indonesia.(ANI)