Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay will be awarded with East Bengal football club’s highest honour – Bharat Gaurav on their foundation day. The ceremony will be held on August 1. The secretary of East Bengal, Kalyan Majumdar said,”Pillay’s contribution to Indian hockey is immense. We have chosen him for this year’s Bharat Gaurav. The club is honoured and humbled that he has accepted our request and will be present here for the Foundation Day on August 1.”
Pillay has played a huge role in reviving the Indian team and performed brilliantly during his 15-year career, representing the country in four Olympics, World Cups, Champions Trophy and Asian Games. He played total 339 matches for India, scoring 170 goals.
He made his international hockey debut in 1989 in Allwyn Asia Cup. He led India to Asian Games glory in 1998 and also won the Asia Cup in 2003. Pillay also received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for his remarkable performance in 1999-2000 and was later awarded the Padma Shri and civilian award in 2000.
India’s hockey team won the Asian Games in 2002 under Pillay’s captaincy. In the same year, he received the player of the tournament award in the Champions Trophy held in Germany. In football, the East Bengal club have selected two former India footballers, Syed Nayeemuddin and Subhas Bhowmick for the Lifetime Achievement Awards.