V. Baskaran (captain of Indian team which won gold in 1980 Moscow Olympics): A soft-spoken person who knew how to get the best out of every player. Indian hockey, nay world hockey, has lost a great player and manager.
B.P. Govinda (member of 1975 World Cup-winning team): For the coaching camp prior to the 1975 World Cup, Balbir Singh kept the spirits of all the players up. A great human being, he was a father figure to us and looked after us as his own child. We lived like a well-knit family when we won the World Cup in Malaysia.
Joaquim Carvalho (World Cupper): Balbir Senior’s man-management skills were superb. He knew how to handle players and officials, and took on people high up in the administration in support of his players. I feel his loss deeply.
Mervyn Fernandes (three-time Olympian): I played under his charge at the 1982 Asian Games and other tournaments. He was a calm, composed person and a thorough gentleman.
Mohammed Riaz (1996 & 2000 Olympics): Whenever I met him, he would always say: ‘Play for the country. Don’t let the country down. Keep the Indian flag flying high’. He was always a positive man.
Dhanraj Pillay (four-time Olympian): No words can express the sadness in my heart. His simplicity touched many hearts in the hockey world.
(compiled by Nandakumar Marar and K. Keerthivasan)