As the Indian football family mourns the loss of former National team player and coach Subhas Bhowmick, his long-time friend Shyam Thapa, mentioned, “Subhas was one of the best strikers in Indian Football.”
“I am shocked to hear my friend Subhas is no more. He was a friend first, and then my teammate. I wish I could have met him. But due to covid I couldn’t even bid good bye to him. That’s the saddest part for me,” Shyam Thapa, the current chairman of the AIFF Technical Committee stated.
“Subhas was the greatest striker I have ever seen. We have helped each other in passing, assists and scoring goals. His fitness level and physique were far better than anyone in the team.”
Shyam Thapa was an integral part of the Indian team that had won the bronze medal in the Asian Cup in 1970. Recalling some of the fond memories, Thapa averred: “Today if I close my eyes and think about one special memory of both of us being together, it will always be the 1970’s India camp in Mumbai.”
“During the camp, Subhas screamed with excitement, and ran like mad to give me the news – ‘Amra dujon ei India team e select hoe gechi (We both have been selected in the Indian Team).’ We were both very young, and we couldn’t control our emotions. We started jumping with joy because it was a big thing for us to represent the National team. We have been friends since then. He was my roommate, and I have so many fond memories of him.”
Bhowmick represented India in 24 international matches and scored nine goals. His partnership with Shyam Thapa was very much appreciated, and deadly at the same time as the duo went on to combine both for the country, and even in club football when they partnered together.
In 1977, both Bhowmick and Thapa were in the star-studded squad when Mohun Bagan won the triple crown – winning the IFA Shield, Durand Cup and the Rovers Cup in the same year.
“Subhas was a hero for me and he will always remain like this. Post retirement, we used to sit and talk about football for long hours. I wish today’s generation had a chance to witness his mental, and technical skills,” he concluded.