Legendary Goalkeeper Brahmanand Sankhwalkar Awarded Padma Shri

Former Indian team custodian Brahmanand Sankhwalkar has had an illustrious career spanning over 25 years and has also represented India on 50 occasions.

Yesterday, India’s home ministry announced that former Indian goalkeeper Brahmanand Sankhwalkar is set to be honored with the country’s fourth-highest civilian award for his notable contribution to Indian football.

Brahmanand was one of the greatest players to have donned the Indian jersey. He was born in Teligao, Goa, and started playing football at the age of five, and played as a goalkeeper in his school when he was just eight years old.

He started playing professional football in 1971 with Panvel Sports Club. In 1974, he captained Panvel to its first Bandodkar Gold Trophy defeating SESA Goa in the final.

After his impressive spell with Panvel, he was selected for the Goa state team for the Santosh Trophy in 1973. Under his captaincy, Goa was declared joint winners of the 1983 Santosh Trophy, and the following year Goa won the trophy by defeating Punjab 1–0. Sankhwalkar finished the tournament without conceding a single goal, a record.

In 1974, after his brilliant spell with Panvel, he signed for Salgaocar, a first-class team from Goa, and went on to win the title. He won the Goa Super League the following season as the captain of the team. Between 1981–85, Salgaonkar won 4 league titles and in 1988 he won the Federation Cup with Goa Club. In 1989, Salgaonkar became the first club outside Bengal to defend the title. In the 1989–90 season, Salgaocar won his first Rovers Cup, defeating Dempo in the final.

In 1991, he signed for Churchill Brothers with Salgaocar after 17 years. He spent 4 years with the Red Machines and a year with the Anderson Mariners in his village before hanging up his boots.

He was first selected for the national team in 1975 and represented India in the AFC Youth Championships that year and the following year. He represented the Blue Tigers in several Merdeka Cups and was part of the team in the 1977 King’s Cup in Bangkok and the President’s Cup in Seoul in 1977 and 1982. He was nicknamed “Leopard” after India’s successful goodwill tour in Zambia. He was made the captain of the national team for the Nehru Cup in 1983 and led the team till 1986. He was also a part of the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul. He ended his international career with 50 appearances for the Blue Tigers.

After retirement, he became the goalkeeping coach of the national team from 1997 to 2005. Then he also coached the India U-23 team. In 1997, he was awarded the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in recognition of his contribution to Indian Football.

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Also Read: AFC did not have a ‘solution oriented’ discussion with us: Thomas Dennerby

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