Kolkata: If there is ever a saying about a man who built something all on his own, then perhaps Mantoo Ghosh’s example would be the most apt one for it. The man who is responsible for taking local club Tollygunge Agragami to a national level where they competed in the National Football League (NFL) has breathed his last on Tuesday and Kolkata Maidan colleague Goutam Dasgupta lauded his dedication and commitment for one last time. He was 85.
Speaking to SportsCrunch, Dasgupta said, “To be honest, we play club level football in our state and that determines whether Bengal or even India plays well or not. It is just a stepping stone for football.”
“Under these circumstances, he (Mantoo Ghosh) carried his club Tollygunge Agragami to such a position where they might not have been famous like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan but definitely he made it known to people.”
“Despite this, he was a hard-working man, did good work as the secretary of the IFA (Indian Football Association) and was a dynamic human being,” added the former BCCI and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Joint Secretary.
Tollygunge Agragami club’s crowning glory came in the years when they ended as runners-up in the IFA shield under in the years 1979 and 1999.
The curve of Indian football has seen a rise in the last year or so with the country successfully hosting it’s first ever World Cup-the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Also, a lot of new talents have emerged who can be relied upon as the future flag-bearers of Indian football as a whole.
At a time when Indian football is slowly gaining more and more popularity, the loss of a figure like Ghosh would definitely be a setback. Although Dasgupta feels that the void he left would be filled by someone capable, his contribution towards Tollygunge Agragami would be hard to match.
“See, it is the trend that one person leaves and the other replaces him. From that perspective, we have nothing to do and there would be someone who would fill up the void left by him,” he said.
“But it would be difficult for Tollygunge Agragami club to get back their lost status without him because there aren’t many who are dedicated and dynamic like him in today’s sports,” opined Dasgupta.
On his personal relationship with Ghosh, Dasgupta recalled his working days in the CAB where the former had served as members of many important committees.
“We both worked together when he was a part of many committees in the CAB. He loved me as young brother and we had a good relationship,” Dasgupta signed off saying.