Former India men's national team star and former technical director of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Shyam Thapa has been chosen as the latest recipient for the Mohun Bagan Ratna award - the club's highest honour, which he would receive on its foundation day ceremony on July 29.
Thapa is one of the greatest footballers to come from India, with the striker making his name for East Bengal in the mid-1960s and early 70s before arch-rivals Mohun Bagan roped him in 1977 for a then Indian transfer record sum of Rs 50,000.
The 74-year-old played a key role in the Mariners' success in 1977, leading them to the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup titles, and is also known for scoring a goal against the Pele-studded New York Cosmos in Mohun Bagan's 2-2 draw in an exhibition match in 1977.
"I am honored. I have no hesitation in admitting that I waited for the 'Mohun Bagan Ratna'. I am very happy," Thapa said
Such was the respect that Thapa had achieved in Indian footballing circles that Nepal called him to revamp their football system in the 21st century and he was there in the first decade of the 21st century.
The Mohun Bagan working committee also picked talented youngster Kiyan Nassiri as the 'Best Forward', while Liston Colaco was adjudged the Best Footballer. Former goalkeeper Balai Dey will be conferred with the Lifetime Achievement.