India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
Indian men’s football team’s gold medal at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games
Indian men’s football team beat South Korea 2-1 in the final at the Senayan Main Stadium in Jakarta on September 4, 1962 to win a historic gold. It was the country’s last football gold at Asian Games. India had also won the gold medal in the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi.
Despite the hostile atmosphere, P. K. Banerjee gave India the lead before Jarnail Singh doubled it. Jarnail had stitches on his forehead due to an injury in an earlier match and was played as a centre forward in the match.
The Indian football team photographed before their departure for Jakarta for the 1962 Asian Games on August 15, 1962. Standing (from left): Ethiraj, Chandrasekhar, Yusuf, Thangaraj, Barman, P.K. Bannerjee, Rahim (coach and manager), C. Goswami, A. Ghosh and Jarnail Singh. Kneeling: Trilok Singh, Afzal, Rambahadur, Arumainayagam, P. Sinha, Franco and Balaraman. – THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Though Korea scored a late goal, goalkeeper Peter Thangaraj saw off the danger till the end. The animosity against the Indian continent was so high that no one came to congratulate it even after the match.
Fearless approach led Indian football to 1962 Asian Games gold medal, says Afzal
The Indian team was coached by Syed Abdul Rahim who is considered to be the greatest coach the country has produced while India also had its best years on the international stage under his stewardship.
“The mantra of Rahim saab (as he is fondly remembered by the football fraternity) which clinched the issue for India in the final was to advise the players not to play for the off-side trap as they could be confused by whistling from the crowd which was not only boisterous but anti-India too. He just wanted the Indians to always keep possession of the ball,” recalls D. M. K. Afzal, a member of that gold-medal winning team, who featured in two league matches.
(Read the full article published in Sportstar on September 4, 2020)