A look back into Mohun Bagan midfield maestro Prasun Banerjee’s career
Prasun Banerjee won 25 trophies with Mohun Bagan.
Prasun Banerjee is widely recognized as one of the best midfielders to ever represent India in the international stage. A versatile, hard-working player known for his intense style and never-say-die attitude, Banerjee enjoyed a glowing career for club and country.
The younger brother of iconic Indian football legend Lt PK Banerjee, Prasun Banerjee proved himself as a leader in his youth days itself. He won his first major trophy as the vice-captain of the India U-19 team in clinching the 1974 AFC Youth Championship in Thailand.
That would be the start of a bright career for the midfielder. Banerjee was a wily player who could cover a lot of ground in matches. He could also play as a full-back if needed, but his best role was of course in that deeper central midfield position.
Prasun Banerjee excelled at helping protect the backline, often sitting deep to cut out opposition attacks and winning possession in key areas. He started his professional career at Calcutta club Kidderpore FC. The midfielder is a Mohun Bagan legend as well and started playing for them as a teenager in 1974. He was many years in the 1970s with the Mariners as a mainstay in their midfield line.
Prasun would go on to win over 25 trophies with Mohun Bagan, including five IFA Shield and five Durand Cup championships. Perhaps the proudest moment of his career with the Kolkata giants was after the famous match against Cosmos in 1977, after which Pele praised him to be one of the players to have the potential to play outside India.
Apart from the Mariners, Banerjee also played for Mohammedan Sporting for a lengthy period of his career. He won nine trophies with them and also received the Shaan-E-Mohammedan honour in 2017. On top of that, the midfielder was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1979 for his impressive sporting achievements.
Banerjee is a former India national team captain, who earned the honour of being one of the few footballers to make over 100 appearances for the national team. He participated in three Asian Games editions with India and played a key role in helping them get to the Asian Games quarter-finals in 1982.
Prasun Banerjee was also honoured with the opportunity of being only the second Indian footballer to play for the All-Asia XI team against the Brazilian national team in his career. He played against the likes of Zico, Falcao and Socrates in those matches.
After the end of his career, Banerjee gave a try at coaching as well. He acted as an interim coach for Mohun Bagan in the early 1990s before moving away from football management. Banerjee has, however, played a key role in helping the Indian football’s grassroot scene improve and acted as an advisor in the Goshto Pal academy.
He has acted as a member of the All India Football Federation’s Technical Committee and played a role in setting up academies too. Apart from his football career, Prasun Banerjee also succeeded in his political career as well. In 2013, he became the first Indian Professional Footballer to be a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha).
Banerjee won the by-poll elections in the Howrah Sadar parliament constituency and was re-elected in Lok Sabha in 2014 too. Despite his political achievements, Prasun Banerjee will always be renowned for his legendary footballing career. He was able to mix his leadership skills and hard-working style to become a machine in midfield and produce countless memorable performances in his career.