Arumoy Naigam shares his experience of playing alongside Jarnail Singh9-Aug, 2012
Former Mohun Bagan captain Arumoy Naigam shares his experience of playing with one of the greatest Indian defenders, Jarnail Singh, who was also the posthumous recipient of Mohun Bagan Ratna 2012.
Arumoy Naigam used to play as a left out and was called "Baby Taxi" for his speed. He played with Jarnail Singh for 8 years in Mohun Bagan.
MMB: How do you rate Jarnail Singh as a player?
Arumoy Naigam: Jarnail Singh was one of the best defenders to have ever played in India. Remember, he used to play in a 2-back or 3-back system which made his job even tougher.
He was a very tough defender, but he hardly made any rough tackles to clear the ball. The opponent players knew that once you beat Jarnail Singh, then you could score a goal. Every forward in India was scared of him. He also supplied good long passes from the defense. He had great power and accuracy with his shots.
MMB: How was Jarnail Singh as a captain?
Arumoy Naigam: Jarnail Singh captained Mohun Bagan from 1965 to 1967. He was a born leader and always gave instructions during the match. If we made a mistake upfront, he would shout from defense and point out our mistakes. As soon as the match ended, he would come to us and say "Don't mind that I shouted at you during the match." Outside the field, he was calm and quiet. He was a very good human being and gave a lot of advice to the players.
While playing, he always said, "Don't think of anything else, just winning." He really hated to lose a match.
Jarnail Singh is also the only Indian to have been selected as Captain of the Asian All-Star team in 1966. He was also the Captain of the Indian team from 1965 to 1967.
MMB: Which match would you say was Jarnail Singh's best?
Arumoy Naigam: Definitely the final of 1962 Asian Games. Coach Rahim Saheb had used Jarnail as a forward on an experimental basis in a few matches during the tournament. Jarnail got injured in the final match and played with stitches. He scored the winning goal in the final as India defeated South Korea 2-1 to clinch the Gold Medal. P. K. Banerjee scored the other goal in the final. Earlier in the tournament India had lost to South Korea 2-0 in a group match.
Jarnail also scored a goal in the semi final which India won 3-2 against South Vietnam. Chuni Goswami scored the other 2 goals for India in that match.
Chuni Goswami and Jarnail Singh
MMB: You became the Captain of Mohun Bagan in 1968. How was the experience?
Arumoy Naigam: It was a great honour for me to be the Captain of a team which had players like Jarnail Singh and Chuni Goswami in it. We won the Rovers Cup and Amritabazar Centenary Cup that year. In the Rovers Cup final, we defeated Leaders Club. The match ended in a goalless draw on the 1st day; however, the next day we defeated them 3-0.
In the Amritabazar Centenary Cup, we met East Bengal and it was a must win match for us. We took the lead after Jarnail Singh sent a brilliant through pass towards me and I took a shot from an acute angle which was blocked by Thangaraj. Kannan found the loose ball and placed it inside the open goal. In the 2nd half, East Bengal tried to equalize but Jarnail stood like the great rock of Gibraltar and did not allow them any space inside our penalty box. Towards the fag end of the match Jarnail made a stunning goal line save and prevented Akbar's push from going in. Kannan latched on to the ball and scored a wonderful solo goal to earn a 2-0 victory.
MMB: Who do you think was his best partner in defense while playing for Mohun Bagan?
Arumoy Naigam: J. Fenn.
MMB: Who were your favourite players in Mohun Bagan?
Arumoy Naigam: Chuni Goswami, Jarnail Singh and Kempiah.
MMB: Who was your favourite coach?
Arumoy Naigam: Rahim Saheb. I played under his coaching in Olympics and also 1964 pre Olympics.
MMB: Other than Jarnail Singh, who do you think was the best defender during your playing days?
Arumoy Naigam: Arun Ghosh. Among the opponent players, I used to respect him a lot.
MMB: Thanks a lot and hope to see you once again at next yearâ€™s Mohun Bagan Day.
Arumoy Naigam: Thank you. I really look forward to coming to Kolkata on 29th July.
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