New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla condoled the passing away of legendary former India football captain Chuni Goswami who died at a private city hospital in Kolkata on Thursday. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called him a "real star".
Taking to Twitter, President Kovind said: "Sad to hear about the passing of Chuni Goswami. In his demise India's football fans have lost a legend. A versatile sportsman, he was a star in his own right. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers."
Meanwhile, Birla said: "Saddened at the news of demise of former ace footballer & first class cricketer #ChuniGoswami. His achievements in both the sports shall always be remembered. May his soul rest in peace!"
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju wrote on twitter: "It is a sad day for Indian sports as legendary footballer Chuni Goswami passes away. He was the most successful Indian football captain who led India to a gold in Asian Games in 1962 and many other victories. I extend heartfelt condolences to the family. Om Shanti."
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been the first to express her condolence. Calling Goswami a "real star", she remarked: "He was amongst the greatest players that Indian football has ever seen. He was a versatile personality who brought many laurels to the country and to Bengal."
Goswami was captain of the 1962 Asian Games gold-medal winning team and had also represented Bengal in first-class cricket. For the last few months, Goswami was suffering from underlying ailments with sugar, prostate and nerve problems. Goswami played 50 matches for India as a footballer from 1956 to 1964.
At 82, Goswami breathed his last after suffering a cardiac arrest. It only added to the gloom that has shrouded the country and the world at large with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc and also the deaths of veteran actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor.
(With inputs from IANS)