Soosairaj, Banerjee and other professional brother duos in Indian football

A look at brothers who have been professional footballers at some point in their career….

The Neville brothers, the Toure brothers, the De Boer brothers, the Inzaghi brothers, the Laudrup brothers, the Hazard brothers. Europe has no shortage of brothers to have made it big in the industry. How does India fare here? We take a look at brothers to have been involved in Indian football.

Pradip Kumar and Prasun Banerjee

Pradip Kumar Banerjee is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures of Indian football. The ace striker represented India in the 1956 Olympic games at Melbourne, the 1958, 1962 and 1966 Asian Games at Tokyo, Jakarta and Bangkok respectively.

He also served as the coach of the national team for 14 years, starting 1972. In 1961, Banerjee became one of the first to win the prestigious Arjuna Award. He also won the Padma Shri (1990) and was awarded with the FIFA Centennial Order of Merit (2004), the highest honour awarded by FIFA, global governing body for the sport.

His brother Prasun Banerjee too enjoyed an enviable career. He represented India between 1974 and 1985, with his brother at the helm. He boasts of a tremendous career with Mohun Bagan as a central defensive midfielder.

Like his bother, Prasun is also an Arjuna Award winner (1979).

Dane and Keegan Pereira

Keegan Pereira NorthEast United ISL 55

Dane Pereira (34) is a midfielder whose career took a hit after a positive dope test by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) in 2015. He has played for Mumbai FC in the I-League and Chennaiyin FC in the ISL.

Keegan (32), on the other hand, boasts of an impressive CV. The left-back won the I-League with Bengaluru FC in the 2013-14 season and has represented the likes of Mumbai City, ATK, NorthEast United and last played for Jamshedpur FC. He has also represented the country four times.

Terence and Cavin Lobo

Cavin Lobo Punjab

The Lobo brothers from Goa graduated as midfielders from the Sporting Goa Academy in the late 2000s. Elder brother Terence spent most of his career at Sporting Goa and also represented the Indian U-20 side in 2005.

Cavin moved on to represent Dempo, East Bengal, Mumbai FC, ATK, Kerala Blasters and is currently donning Punjab FC’s colours. He also has 15 caps with the Indian national team after making his debut in 2015.

Climax and Covan Lawrence

Yet another Goan duo on this list, Climax (41) and Covan Lawrence (40) played together for Dempo between 2009 and 2013. Climax is an India international with 72 caps and three goals to his name.

The midfielder started his career at Salgaocar and went on to represent heavyweights such as East Bengal, Dempo, Mumbai FC and then ATK in the ISL. Climax was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation in the country.

Covan too started his career at Salgaocar and later joined Mahindra United. He joined East Bengal in 2005, exactly when his brother left for Dempo. After short stints at Air India and Vasco, the defender joined his brother at Dempo, where he retired in 2013.

Mohammed Rafi, Shafi and Razi

Mohammed Rafi Chennaiyin FC ISL 2017/18

Another India international on the list, Kerala-born Mohammed Rafi was a role model for his brothers Shafi and Razi. The forward started his career at State Bank of Travancore and later donned the jerseys of Mahindra United, Churchill Brothers, Mumbai FC, ATK, Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC.

The 37-year-old enjoyed a decorated career, winning the ISL with ATK in 2014 and Chennaiyin in the 2017-18 season. He was also named the I-League 2009-10 Player of the Year for a spectacular season with Mahindra United.

Shafi and Razi played for Kerala domestic sides Chirag United (formerly Viva Kerala) and KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board football club) respectively.

Mohammed Habib and Akbar

Arjuna Award recipient in 1980, Mohammed Akbar has etched his name in Indian football’s history books. The forward represented the national team for 10 years between 1965 and 1975. He spent the entirety of his club career in Bengal, plying trades for East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan SC.

His younger brother Akbar also represented the big two from Bengal and spent some time in his hometown Hyderabad. He also coached Hyderabad Sporting for a brief period.

At the international level, he was picked up for the junior team in 1969 and was eventually called up for the national team. However, he does not have a cap for the senior side.

Nandy Brothers

The four brothers from the Nandy family all turned out for India in the late 1940s and early 1950s, making it a rare instance where four brothers from the same family played for the national team.

The midfield-forward duo of Anil and Sunil Nandy took the field for the Indian National team against France in the 1948 Olympic Games.

India’s original opponents Burma pulled out and the Blue Tigers were hence, paired alongside heavyweights France in the first round. Despite a gallant display, two misses from the spot meant that India went down fighting to a 2-1 defeat.

Both brothers represented Eastern Railway SC at the domestic level.

Then there was Nikhil Nandy who also represented India at the 1956 Olympic games. After retiring, he took up coaching in Kolkata and was fondly known as Nikhil babu. The fourth brother was Santosh Nandy who also played for India during this period. 

Michael Regin and Soosairaj

Michael Soosairaj Mumbai City ATK FC ISL 6

ISL 2019-20 winners Michael Regin (31) and Soosairaj (25) are among the few on the list who were fortunate enough to play together at the same club(s). The midfielders first played together for Chennai City FC in the 2017-18 season.

Regin stayed at the club to win the I-League title in the 2018-19 season before joining ATK ahead of ISL-6.

Soosairaj earned a transfer to ISL side Jamshedpur FC after being named I-League’s best midfielder in the 2017-18 season. He impressed with the Men of Steel and won his first national team call-up before being roped in by ATK.

Ramanna and Somanna

The Mysuru duo of Ramanna and Somanna at their peak was among the best in Indian football. Despite not being born in Kolkata, both players spent a majority of their careers in Kolkata.

Ramanna’s incredible performance in the 1962 Santosh Trophy earned him a ticket to Kolkata. He played for East Bengal in 1964-1965 and was later picked up by Mohammedan in 1966 and played for the Black and Whites until his retirement in 1973, bar a season when he joined Coal India Limited in Bengaluru.

At Mohammedan, Ramanna was joined by his brother Somanna. This gave birth to one of the most promising footballing chants in the nation – ‘Sawan ka mahina, Mohammedan kare shor / Ramanna kare center, Somanna kare score’.

Gursimrat and Prabhsukhan Gill

Gursimrat Singh Bengaluru FC training session

Gursimrat (22) and Prabhsukhan (19) Gill were picked up by Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC bolster their defence. The brothers graduated from the Chandigarh Football Academy and the AIFF Elite Academy respectively and were teammates at the southern club until recently.

Gursimrat is a centre-back who can play at multiple positions in the back-line. He represented the U-19 side from 2014 to 2015. However, he has suffered from a lack of game time ever since.

The younger brother was the second choice goalkeeper in the 2017 U-17 World Cup and also represented the country at the U-23 level. Like his brother, Prabhsukhan has not had regular game time at Bengaluru. He recently completed a move to Kerala Blasters.

Rakesh and Bekey Oram

The Oram brothers only just burst into the scene. Rakesh (22) is a midfielder who used to play for Mumbai City. He started off at the Sambalpur Football Academy and was later inducted to the AIFF Elite Academy.

Rakesh has represented India at the U-15 and U-19 level but is yet to enjoy a big break at the club level. He is currently without a club.

Bekey (16) is one among the promising youngsters in the country. He plies his trades for Bengaluru FC’s B team and scored two goals in six games in the I-League second division last season. He is a forward who can also operate in midfield.

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