A professional goalkeeper for over 18 years now, Subhasish has won every single domestic competition in India and has been an integral part of the Blue Tigers for over a decade. At 35, he even got a call from Head Coach Igor Stimac to be a part of the camp in Dubai for the March friendlies against Oman and UAE.

“We used to live in Teghoria (in Kolkata). My dad, Late Samiran Roy Chowdhury, got influenced by some evil souls and took up drinking. He was our sole earning member – we were a family of 8 – 4 brothers and 2 sisters besides my parents,” he narrates.

“With dad not earning anymore, my mom was left with no option and took up the job of a maid nearby. My elder sister also went with her,” this time he breathes heavily. “I was barely 5, and when mom went out, I took care of everyone at home.”

“With more mouths to feed than the income, we were unable to pay the rent, and eventually had to vacate our home. We moved to Panapukur (in Rajarhat, Kolkata) in a small thatched house as tenants.”

By this time, National Team defender Pritam Kotal has moved into the room and sat at a distance. Subhasish smiles. Pritam adds: “Dada please continue. You have never told us about your life story.” Subhasish smiles again.

“We were left to starve – at times for almost three days. I didn’t eat, we didn’t eat. Every morning, with much optimism, we used to walk barefoot to a house nearby and knock if they had any leftover rice from the previous night. At times, we got lucky, but not every day. And the quantity wasn’t enough to feed us all,” Subhasish pauses, his eyes fixed on the floor.

“I proceeded to become the best player in the Subroto Cup. I was supposed to play for Sukatna Nagar school, but it didn’t happen. I was sent to Purulia by Manjoor Ali Khan, and played from there. I was adjudged the best player and also the goalkeeper in the tournament. There were pictures of mine in the newspapers. I was thrilled,” Subhasish’s eyes lit up. “I only knew to work and work harder than all. I signed for East Bengal, and was called for the U-19 National Team, and flew to Pakistan. But as I wasn’t getting much time to play in the club, I opted for Mahindra United. It was a big risk, as till then, everyone was only flocking to play in Kolkata,” Subhasish said.

“In the meantime, I built a roof overhead at our home. Mahindra was a star-studded squad. We won the NFL, the Federation Cup, the IFA Shield, the Durand Cup. There was no looking back for me since then. I have won everything in India, even the Hero Indian Super League. And I have also donned the National jersey,” he concluded.

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