Beyond 90 Minutes: An Autobiography by P.K. Banerjee
Pele pointed to me and said, ‘This man had prevented me from showing my skills to the audience of India,’ with a broad grin on his face.
Football God and Brazilian legend Pele’s words on P.K. Banerjee after the later prevented Pele from beating his Mohan Bagan team in 1977.
Page count: 198 pages
Publisher: Notion Press
Publication Date: January 29th, 2019
Beyond 90 Minutes is a candid heart-wrenching autobiography of India’s gifted son P.K. Banerjee, in which he bares it all about his illustrious career as a footballer and then as a coach spanning over six decades. It is delightful reading for any football follower. The book describes the maestro’s uphill journey in life and is told with all candidness and brutal clarity. It’s an engrossing story of a dream journey for a little boy from pre-independent India who went on and was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honor awarded by FIFA.
“Beyond 90 Minutes” is an autobiography of the yester year’s footballer P. K. Banerjee. It talks about the struggles of a young player during his glorious career as a player and later as a coach.
When I read the book, the first thought I had was how everything falls in place to make someone a star compelling me to realize success is never an individual effort. It is always a team effort of all the people involved in a person’s life. All the pieces of the puzzle have to fall in place to complete the jigsaw of success. In spite of poverty and a large family bearing down on his shoulders, PK’s father unconditionally encouraged his son to play the game making him the first piece in the puzzle rolling the events of success ahead. Then his coaches, who not only rendered training but also provided nutritious food for him to forge ahead and succeed. His teammates did their share in fixing the next piece into the puzzle in place. Then, his wife took care of everything on the home front becoming the spine to lean on, so that PK could focus on his game. And everyone did their share for PK to succeed. However, as all games and sportsmen in India (other than Cricket) his life too was riddled with struggles of poverty, monetary issues and the petty politics that confound the spirit of the game. It is admirable that PK pushed forward to win medals at all levels in spite of all the hindering forces. He was the first player to receive the noted Arjuna Award and the Padmasri to his laurels. His story is not only a reality check to the plight and struggles of players in the country, but is also a source of inspiration to young talent across the country.
I admired PK’s spirit and his attitude towards the game but the writing is below average. It felt like watching the life of a player from the window of a fast moving train. Nothing registers on the reader’s mind. Everything fleets past in quick succession. Also, I did not learn anything about the game nor did could I understand the team dynamics in depth that helps a team to win. All in all, ‘Beyond 90 minutes’ is a below average read.
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Book Reviewed by
Ushasree V is an epidemiologist by profession and a writer by passion. She has published her first e-book “The four pillars: A game of love” on Amazon.
You can get the book here: https://amzn.to/2Tx00wa
She is working on her next book to be released in June this year.
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