Indian football great Subhas Bhowmick, who was a member of the side that won bronze at the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, passed away in Kolkata on Saturday at the age of 71.
Born on October 2, 1950, Bhowmick made his international debut for India on July 30, 1970 in the Merdeka Cup against Farmosa. He represented India in 24 international matches and scored nine goals in the process — including a hat-trick against the Philippines in the Merdeka Cup in 1971 — a match which India won 5-1.
He attained the distinction of not just donning India colours in several top-notch tournaments but also coaching the national team.
Besides winning the bronze medal at the Asian Games, Bhowmick was also a triumphant member of the Indian team which finished joint winners at Pesta Sukan Cup against South Vietnam in Singapore (1971), and a bronze medal in the Merdeka Cup in 1970. He was also a member of the Indian team which toured the USSR in 1971.
At the domestic level, Bhowmick represented Bengal in the Santosh Trophy in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 (captain), and in 1975, winning it four times (in 1969,1971,1972,1975), scoring 24 goals.
At the club level, he played for East Bengal in 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, and scored 82 goals. He helped the Red and Gold brigade win the Calcutta Football League in 1973, 1974, 1975; the IFA Shield in 1973, 1974, 1975; the Rovers Cup in 1969, 1973; the DCM Trophy in 1973, 1974 and the Bordoloi Trophy in 1973.
He also played for Mohun Bagan in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1978 and finished with 84 goals. He helped Mohun Bagan win the Calcutta Football League in 1976, 1978; IFA Shield in 1976 (joint-winners), 1977, 1978 (joint-winners); the Federation Cup in 1978 (joint-winners); the Rovers Cup in 1970, 1971, 1972 (joint-winners), 1977; the Durand Cup in 1977; the Nehru Trophy in 1970; the Bordoloi Trophy in 1976, 1977; the Darjeeling Gold Cup in 1976 (joint-winners); and the Sait Nagjee Trophy in 1978.
He had earlier started his club career with Rajasthan Club, Kolkata in 1968, wherein he scored seven goals in the Calcutta Football League.
Bhowmick was also a reputed coach having won many laurels. He coached India in the 7th President Gold Cup in Dhaka in 1989.
At the domestic level, his biggest achievement as a coach came in 2003 when he coached East Bengal to win the LG Asean Club Cup in Jakarta. He also coached East Bengal to win the Kolkata Football League from 2002-2004, the San Miguel Cup in Kathmandu in 2004, the National Football League (back-to-back) in 2002-03, and 2003-04, the IFA Shield in 2002, the Independence Day Cup in 2002, and the Durand Cup in 2002.
As a technical director, he was involved in Churchill Brothers winning the I-League in 2012-13. He also coached Mohun Bagan to win the Sikkim Gold Cup in 1992. He was awarded the East Bengal Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Praful Patel, in his condolence message, said, “It’s sad to hear that Bhowmick da, one of the greatest footballers of his generation is no more. His invaluable contribution to Indian football will always remain with us, and will never be forgotten. Indian football has only got poorer. My condolences to his family. I share the grief.”
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “Mr. Subhas Bhowmick will always remain alive in his achievements. He was a legendary footballer, and a visionary coach — someone who has been the inspiration for so many generations. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”