The striker received the Arjuna Award in 1962.

Tulsidas Balaram, one of India’s greatest-ever football players passed away in Kolkata on 16 February 2023. The 87-year-old was admitted to hospital last year on December 26 after he complained of loss of appetite, abdominal distension and urinary inconsistence.

A legend of the game

Tulsidas Balaram was instrumental in the country winning the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. The Blue Tigers defeated South Korea in the finals (2-1) which was India’s second title triumph at the multi-discipline continental games. Balaram played for several teams in his senior career starting with Army Combat Force, Riders Club Hyderabad, Hyderabad City Police, and East Bengal. 

The legend’s breakthrough came in the 1956-57 season representing Hyderabad in the Santosh Trophy. Hyderabad defeated Bombay (4-1) in the finals and later Balaram was called up for the Indian National team. The winger belongs to the golden generation of Indian Football in the 1950s and 60s. He played alongside legends like Chuni Goswami and PK Banerjee. The trio came to be known as the country’s football’s “holy trinity”. 

Feat in National colours

During the title run at the 1962 Asian Games, Tuldisam Balaram scored crucial goals against Thailand and Japan and played in all the games. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1962 for his contribution to Indian Football.

Apart from the 1962 Asian Games success, he was also part of the 1960 Rome Olympics. India was placed in the group of death alongside Hungary, France, and Peru. Blue Tigers lost in the opening round to mighty Hungary (1-2) and Balaram was the lone goal-scorer in the defeat. India lost to Peru in the final group game (1-3) and once again it was Balaram who scored the solitary goal.

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Tulsidas Balaram represented the national team 27 times from 1957 to 1963 and scored 10 goals. He couldn’t prolong his career and retired early in 1963 due to health-related issues and his absence was strongly felt by the Indian team the following year, at the AFC Asia Cup in Israel.

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