Early life of Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Born in Jalpaiguri he studied in Zilla School and latter completed his schooling from Jamshedpur from H.P.M. School. Pradip Kumar Banerjee played for the Bihar state football team as a right winger during his teenage. At a very young of 15, Banerjee played for Bihar in the Santosh Trophy as a right winger.
Football career of Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Though 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.
Coaching Career of Pradip Kumar Banerjee
Post-retirement, Banerjee began his coaching career with East Bengal Football Club. Under his name the club won the Calcutta League six consecutive times. Banerjee also coached for the Mohan Bagan Football Club. With the team winning its first ever triple-crown triumph in one season, the Rovers Cup, Durand cup and IFA Shield, P K Banerjee became the most acclaimed coach of his time. He also became the national coach of India in the 1972 Munich Olympics and continued till 1986. He also remained with the Tata Football Academy at Jamshedpur as its Technical Director from 1919 to 1997. Banerjee again took up the post of the Technical director of the Indian Football team in 1999.
Awards and Honours to Pradip Kumar Banerjee
In 1961, P. K. Banerjee became the first-ever footballer to receive the Arjuna Award. He was bestowed with the prestigious 'Player of the Millennium' award by FIFA. He was also awarded with the 'International Fair Play' award by the Olympic committee. In the year 2004 FIFA conferred upon him their highest award, 'FIFA Centennial Order of Merit'.