Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of articles on the Indian football national team in connection to [email protected] The writer has covered various aspects of the game, from captains to coaches, during the period between 1948-2022.
Balai Dey was only 10 months old when Jawaharlal Nehru famously announced that India had made a tryst with destiny long years ago and the time had come to redeem the pledge. His family were then living in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
Dey, now 76, cannot recall how his family spent the day on August 14, 1947, as citizens of the other new-born nation, Pakistan. But he does remember how he grew up in Khulna and Dhaka and went on to become one of the top footballers of the country.
Then, in 1965, his family moved to India. As a consequence, Dey achieved something which is truly unique: he is the only living footballer in the subcontinent who has represented both India and Pakistan in international football.
Before him, the traffic had gone the other way: Taj Mohammed who represented India in the 1948 Olympics and A Latif who turned out for the 1960 games went on to migrate to Pakistan and represent the national team on the other side of...