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75 years of independence: Iconic moments from Indian sports – 1962 Asian Games football gold

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging greatest sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Gold medal won by the Indian men’s football team at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta

On September 4, 1962, the Indian men’s football team defeated South Korea 2-1 in the championship game at Jakarta’s Senayan Main Stadium to capture a historic gold. It was the final Asian Games football gold for the nation. India had previously taken home the gold at the 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi.

P. K. Banerjee gave India the lead despite the unfriendly environment, and Jarnail Singh increased it. Jarnail, who was injured early in the game and was playing as the centre forward, required stitches for a wound on his forehead.

Despite a late goal from Korea, goalie Peter Thangaraj kept the game safe to the very end. The hostility against the Indian continent was so high that no one came to congratulate it even after the match.

Syed Abdul Rahim, widely regarded as the best coach the nation has ever produced, led the Indian squad, and under his direction, India experienced its most successful years on the international scene.

‘The mantra of Rahim saab (as he is affectionately remembered by the football community), which sealed the deal 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 raucous but anti-India as well.’ D. M. K. Afzal, a member of the gold-medal winning squad who played in two league games, remembers that he simply wanted the Indians to always have the ball in their hands.


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