Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mohun Bagan Day celebrations, Mohun Bagan Ratna to Samar (Badru) Banerjee

Amidst much fanfare, the National Club of India celebrated Mohun Bagan day on July 29. The event also witnessed the Mohun Bagan Ratna being conferred to the Olympian, former captain of Mohun Bagan and National team, Samar (Badru) Banerjee.

Seemed like the football roads were
all leading to the Mohun Bagan ground. It was a galaxy of sorts, where the current, budding, and former footballers from past seven decade blessed the occasion. Not to forget the thousands of Mohun Bagan fans who were present at the Mohun Bagan tent to celebrate the famous win of 1911.

This win naturally ignites the pride and passion among the players as well as fans over the years.

The Mohun Bagan tent and the club lawn were all decked up for the occasion along with the bright green and maroon lights. A huge stage was put at at the right side of the ground, where the felicitation ceremony, cultural extravaganza, and dinner ceremony took place.

The event kicked off with a series of exhibition football matches. U-13 teams of Veterans Club and Mohun Bagan Club locked their horns. The match had all its excitement but ended in a goal less draw.

The next match was played between the former Mohun Bagan players, Shib Das Bhaduri XI vs Bijoy Das Bhaduri XI. Both football legends who had donned the colors of Mohun Bagan and above all the winning member of the epic 1911 IFA Shield. Such was the excitement of the match that a total of 85 footballers were divided into two teams. The players from the 50’s to the 90s, all exibited their fine skills and reminded of the glorious past of Calcutta football. Finally, Bijoy Das Bhaduri XI got the better of his sibling team, Shib Das Bhaduri XI, and worn the match 3-2.

The name of the few players who played the match includes, Kannan, Syed Nayeemuddin, Shibaji Banerjee, Jo Paul Ancheri, Pranab Ganguly, Abdul Khaleq, Achintya Belel, Sukhen Sengupta, Gouranga Banerjee, Sudip Chakraborty, Uttam Mukherjee, Hemanta Dora, Pradip Talukdar, Krishnagopal Chowdhury, Gunabir Singh, Amit Das, Saumitra Chakraborty.

The final exhibition match was played between the Artist Forum XI and the Sports Journalist XI. Also, this match between the amateurs was a closely contested match, and ended in a 1-1 draw.

The members of the Mohun Bagan fans club had organized a photo exhibition of the club's history, former and current players along with some memorable moments of Mohun Bagan Ratna, Samar (Badru) Banerjee.

Football legends, Sailen Manna, P. K. Banerjee, and Chuni Goswami witnessed the entire proceedings. The legends rose to the stage to give away the much-coveted Mohun Bagan Ratna to Samar (Badru) Banerjee. Also, on the same stage the officials took the opportunity to introduce each of the players and the coaching staff for the current season to the fans and members.

Also present in the occassion were the
Mohun Bagan coach, Karim Benchariffa, IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly, CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya, and numerous other players who have made Mohun Bagan proud.

Photo courtesy: Tridip Sheet and Sumanta Mishra

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pre-season practice blues for Chirag United

What could have been a nice built up for the upcoming football season, turned out to be a damp squib. Chirag United's pre-season camp at the historic town of Murshidabad came to a pre-mature end and the team has shifted their base to Kalyani, 65 km from Kolkata.

Excessive power cut has been the main reason to shift the camp from Murshidabad to Kalyani. Chirag United will hold a four week camp at Kalyani; pre-season camp at Murshidabad lasted only for a week.

Team management chose to practice at the serene location of Lalbag, which lies close to the bank of river Baghirathi. However, after six hours of strenuous practice session (three hours each in the morning and evening), players were not able to sleep properly due to power cut. To top it up, there were disturbances from mosquitoes and other insects.

This decision has deprived the local budding talents, who could have learned a lot by witnessing the quality practice sessions from Chirag United.

Mohun Bagan fans prepare to celeberate Mohun Bagan day

The recent spate of controversies cannot be a good enough reason to dampen the spirits of the Mohun Bagan fans as they prepare themselves to celebrate Mohun Bagan day.

Though Mohun Bagan Athletic Club was established in the year 1889, but Mohun Bagan day is celebrated on July 29, the day when the club defeated the mighty East Yorkshire Regiment by 2 – 1 to lift the IFA Shield back in 1911. Mohun Bagan was the first Indian club to have won the IFA Shield.

This year’s Mohun Bagan Ratna will be conferred to Samar (Badru) Banerjee, footballer Olympian, former captain of India and Mohun Bagan.

The club is organizing the following exhibition matches to celebrate the occasion:
  • Mohun Bagan under-13 Junior Team vs. Veterans Sports Club under-13 Junior Team
  • Match between the former players of the club
  • Calcutta Sports Journalists Club vs Artists’ Forum
The matches will start at 1 pm in the club ground.

Later in the evening, Mohun Bagan Ratna will be the main attraction along with other cultural programme. The proceedings will conculde with a sumptous gala dinner.

Ancheri to take charge of Mohun Bagan-SAIL Football Academy

Come the month of August, the students of Mohun Bagan-SAIL Football Academy (MBSFA) will get a new coach in Jo Paul Ancheri. The former National Senior captain has agreed to take this assignment.

MBSFA, a joint venture between Mohun Bagan and Steel Authority of India is situated in Durgapur, West Bengal.

Ancheri started his football career with State Bank of Travancore (SBT) in 1992. Later he went on playing for almost all the leading football clubs in India, Mohun Bagan, JCT, FC Cochin, East Bengal, etc. He retired as a player few seasons back.

Recently, Ancheri has taken up football coaching and was associated with the National under-13 as an assistant coach and manager.

Ancheri entertained the football lovers by playing in various positions, defender, defensive midfielder, midfielder, and striker. wishes him luck for the new endeavor. May many more Ancheris emerge under his tutelage!

Mohun Bagan-SAIL Football Academy celebrates 6th anniversary

The endeavor, which was started by the National Club of India, Mohun Bagan and the largest integrated iron and steel producer in India, Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Mohun Bagan-SAIL Football Academy (MBSFA), celebrated their 6th anniversary on Monday, July 20.

Mohun Bagan is perhaps the only club in India to run a full-fledged residential football academy. MBSFA is located at the industrial town of Durgapur, 113 miles from Kolkata.

The colorful celebration was kicked-off by the flag hoisting ceremony by Mr. Jeebesh Mishra, ED, Durgapur Steel Plant, SAIL.

Displaying academy’s bright future in coming days, the facility was decorated with sparkling green and maroon lights.

To encourage football among the local school wards, MBSFA organized a 2-day long inter-school football tournament. This tounament was divided in three groups, grade II, III, and IV.

General Secretory of Mohun Bagan club, Mr. Anjan Mitra, senior club official, Mr. Debasish Dutta, and various other club offcials and their families were present in this occasion.

Mr. Mitra encouraged the participants and the academy wards. The celebration concluded with a friendly football match between the academy officials and the guardians of the participating students.

MBSFA has produced players like Sankar Oraon, Reisangmi Vasum, Rahul Kumar, Sanjoy Boro, and Suman Bose who are currently playing for the top football clubs in India.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Grass-root initiatives by SPT Sports in Bangalore

As a part of a grass-root initiative, leading sports management company, SPT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd. runs three football academies in Bangalore, and Sunfeast ably supports this venture.

“The main aim of our academy is to develop football skills among children below 16 years,” said Kanishka Saran, Vice President, SPT Sports.

Kanishka also talked about the following programs that SPT Sports runs in Bangalore:

Sunfeast Football Academy program
SPT Sports flagship academy, located in Sarjapur Road, in the outskirts of Bangalore boasts over 500 children participating in various year-long training programs, summer camps, and winter camps. For the last 3 years, Sunfeast – ITC Foods is supporting this initiative.

Over the years, this academy has grown from strength to strength – added two more academies that are catering to different pockets in Bangalore. Eight footballers cum qualified trained professionals take care in honing the football skills among the children. The coaching classes are conducted four days a week in the regular program with children grouped in different age and skill levels.

Talent hunt program
This is perhaps the largest talent hunt football program in Bangalore. Scouting talent for the future development programs at the Sunfeast Football Academy, this program covers over 60 schools and 1500 children.

The winners from each school get to participate in the finals at the Sunfeast Football Academy. The overall winners are inducted in the Sunfeast Football Academy advanced training programs for free of cost.

Sunfeast village football
The SOCCER-A-CHILD program was kicked off in August 2007. The main objective of the program is to reach out to the rural talent. Four villages around Bangalore have been adopted under this program.

The Sunfeast Football Academy coaches provide free coaching to the children in these villages twice a week.

The idea is to provide the children from the rural areas an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful game of football and identify potential talents.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bagan assistant coach Satyajit Chatterjee resigns

Mohun Bagan assistant coach, Satyajit Chatterjee announced his resignation on Tuesday, July 14. It is assumed that Satyajit did not wanted to be a second fiddle to someone who is junior to him in age. Also, rumor has it that he is not pleased with clubs over-dependency on chief coach, Karim Bencherifa, with whom at times Satyajit had differences in opinion.

A true loyalist, Satyajit had played for Mohun Bagan for 14 seasons on a trot. After retiring from the game, he was associated with his favorite club as an assistant coach. Earlier, he had assisted coaches like Amal Dutta and Carlos Roberto Perreira.

Know to be a true gentleman on and off the field, Satyajit never came out against the club, he silently put down his papers. However, he felt that he was not given his due recognition.

Another former Mohun Bagan player, Shyamal Banerjee is set to take the role of the assistant coach. Mohun Bagan’s pre-season camp starts in a few days.

May be Mohun Bagan management should think of utilizing Satyajit’s experience in some other areas or encourage him to complete the AFC License courses.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Senegalese flair in the IFA Shield

Association Sportive (AS) Douanes, Dakar is all set to play in the 114th edition of IFA Shield. This football club based in Dakar, capital of Senegal.

Per the players’ list sent to the organizers, IFA, this club from Senegal consists of national stars like Vito Badiane, Karamba Diallo, Mor Diouf, Sidy Ndiaye, and Malick Fall.

Douanes in French means Customs, AS Douanes is mainly sponsored by the Government Customs Authority, Senegal.

All set to witness quality African football in the century-old football tournament!

Coach Karim crosses the first hurdle of AFC Licence A course successfully

On his quest for completing the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) licence A course, Mohun Bagan coach, Karim Bencharifa has passed Module A successfully.

Apparently, AFC license A course is divided in two modules, A and B, and the duration of each module is two weeks. Module A of the AFC licence A course was held in Singapore from May 25 to June 6.

Bachelors of Sports graduate, Karim has completed a plethora of courses, including licence A course from Morocco, and perhaps the most qualified soccer coach serving in India. However, AFC does not recognize this course and Karim was adviced to take up AFC Licence A.

Interestingly, Morocco is ranked much higher than India in the FIFA rankings, and Karim’s licence A course from Morocco was not recognized by AFC. However, AFC recognized his Diploma from German Football Association, Leipzig, Germany equivalent to AFC licence B.

Karim needs to complete AFC Licence A - Module B successfully and then resume his duty in Mohun Bagan.

Best of luck, coach!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Corporate football extravaganza 2009

National-level corporate football extravaganza, National Corporate Football Tournament – 2009, is all set to kick-off in August. In its 9th edition, this tournament is arguably the largest corporate football tournament in India.

Played in a 5-a-side Futsal format, the title sponsor for this event is Kingfisher. Other sponsors include, ING Life, Gati, and Playgroundonline.

Talking to IndianFootball.Com, the organizers, SPT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd. provided this information. This tournament was started in Bangalore in 2001 and then the event has gradually grown to several other cities across India - Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Kolkata.

The winners from each city will be flown down to Bangalore for the national finals and the national winner will be awarded an all-expense-paid international holiday.

The event kicks-off in August in Hyderabad and then moves to other cities with the grand finale scheduled in November in Bangalore.

For more information, visit the SPT Sports website

For the Bangalore-based corporate soccer freaks, SPT Sports is hosting an inter-corporate league in December.

For the wannabe soccer stars, SPT Sports is hosting an inter-school football tournament from October thru January next year. This event will be simultaneously hosted 4 cities across India, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lajong Football Club starts their pre-season camp

New entrant to the I-League Division 1 Lajong Football Club (FC) has started their pre-season camp from today. Based in Shillong, this is the first club from North-east India who will be playing in the I-League Division 1.

Former national assistant coach, Stanley Rozario is the Lajong FC coach. The team practiced today at a picturesque practice pitch, which is located at the outskirts of the city.

Lajong FC has a good mix of local and out-stationed players. Coming to the big-stage for the first time, this team is eager to prove their worth.

Tete-a-tete with Gumpe Rime

North-east of India has been a happy hunting ground for the national club recruiters. All the top national clubs have players from this region on their roster. However, you will barely find a player from Arunachal Pradesh. One such rare player who hails from Arunachal Pradesh is custodian Gumpe Rime, playing for the top clubs for almost one and half decade.

After playing for Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) six successful seasons, Gumpe is all set to keep the goal of the newly promoted first division I-league team, Shillong Lajong FC.

Q: Hi Gumpe, tell me what prompted to take you this decision?
A: I wanted to play for a first division club and Shillong Lajong FC is the first North-east club who will be playing in the I-league first division. I hail from North-east part of India, it will be a privilege for me to play for such a club and part of the history. And If my experience can be of any use then nothing like that.

Q: Tell us something about your childhood?
A: I come from a town named Aalo in Arunachal Pradesh. After my schooling, I was spotted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Guwahati, and groomed there for a while. I started playing for clubs since 1995.
1995-96 to 98-99
Mahindra United
Bengal-Mubai Football Club (BMFC)
Vasco Sports Club
Salgaonkar Sports Club
2004-05 to 08-09
Lajong FC
My experience while playing for BMFC has been quite frustrating, it was a mis-managed team where players were not payed regularly.

Some clubs appear all of a sudden and after couple of seasons they literally disappear from the scene; leaving the players in lurch.

I would like to bring to the notice of AIFF that they should check the credibility of these clubs before sanctioning their entity. Clubs like Chandni FC, Malabar FC, and Happy Entertaintment, gets a chance to play in the I-league (second division) and sad to see that HAL being left out.

Q: Goalkeping is a demanding job, how do you keep yourself fit, that too for so many years?
A: That way I have been fortunate enough, I have never got serious injuries while playing. But I do work on my fitness, during off-season I am regular at the training grounds.

Q: How was the experience playing in HAL?
A: Definitely good. After playing for so many years I am regarded as a home player.

However, they need to be more professional in their approach, there are many formalities and protocols to get the budget approved. This becomes frustrating many times.

Team management should stress on retaining talents. Lot of promising players plays for HAL during their formative years and then leaves for better growth. They should look at retaining the best talents.

Also, there is lack of involvement from the management. HAL Sports Club members are high-ranked HAL officials, you would barely find them interacting with the players. Except for sports secretory, Mr. Rajan, I don’t see anyone interacting with the players.

On the contrary, in Salgaoncar the owner himself would take his busy time out to talk and encourage the team.

Q: How is HAL team this year?
A: This current bunch looks good. Management has picked up the core of the Karnataka Santosh Trophy team, including some promising players from BEML. But as I have mentioned before, this is story happens every year, they fail to retain the talents.

Q: And what about your experience playing in Kolkata?
A: I had a short stint with Mohemadan, I’ve never played a full season there. Even during that time they changed coach many times, the management was bad. Players like Odafa and Chidi started their career in India by playing for Mohemadan. Pity that they could not retain them and later they dominated the India football scene.

Once, I had got offer from East Bengal, but I had to reject it for some reason. But yes, the media coverage is amazing, you don’t get it anywhere else in India.

Q: How is football played in North-east?
A: The local bodies in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam functions well. They have proper infrastructure, grass root level, and youth development programmes.

I am not sure about Arunachal Pradesh, the football association does not have enough funds. There is no local league in Arunachal Pradesh. The players should get proper exposure by participating in the tournaments outside Arunachal Pradesh.

This year the Arunachal Pradesh team participated in the under-21 nationals at Goa and the result was decent. Football should be played throughout the year. We have now two young players from Arunachal Pradesh, Nyamar Loyi and Tassar Techi playing for clubs. Hope they play well and make Arunachal Pradesh proud.

At times discipline becomes as issue among the North-east players. Reaching to a height is not difficult, maintaining is difficult.

We have Baichung Bhutia as our icon, but after that there is a void, there is no one even close to him.

Q: Any disappointment of not making to the national team?
A: I have played for India juniors. However, I was never selected for the senior team. I have attended national camps several times, but failed to make to the final squad. Mainly because our coaches preferred tall keepers.

Q: Who is your favorite goalkeeper?
A: I have always found Jorge Campos, the famous Mexican goalkeeper exciting. Not because of his flashy outfits, but for his agility. He did not have the height, but the kind of saves he made was amazing.

In India, I have seen Ghanaian international Edward Ansah’s keeping. He was playing in India when he was in his 40’s. Even at that age, he was one of the best keepers to have graced Indian football. Currently, Edward Ansah is the goal-keeping coach for Ghana.

Q: How long you want to continue playing football?
A: Another 3 years at the top level. (grins)

Q: Any post-retirement plans?
A: I have not made any plans yet. Definitely something related to football, maybe an instructor. I will leave it to my destiny. (smiles)

Q: Thanks Gumpe for your time and best wishes for your new venture.
A: Thanks and all the best to, keep up the good work!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Luisao, the Brazilian national defender to play for Chirag

It has been a good hunting for Chirag as far as foreigners are concerned. They have roped Josimar da Silva Martins, 24 year Brazilian who plays in the striker position.

Chirag’s Brazilian Physio Djair Garcia has helped to get Josimar on their rolls. Josimar comes from National AC, Sao Paulo, and has earlier played in Russia.

If you thought that Josimar is the only catch, then you are absolutely wrong, hold your breath, it is the star defender Luisao, who has just represented Brazil in the successful Confederations Cup mission, is all set to play in the next I League.

27-years old Luisao currently plays for Benfica, Portugal.

If you have taken the later part of this article seriously, then you are at your own risk. Call it an early or a belated fool’s day celebration!

Djair and Luisao’s are family friends and they used stay in the same neighborhood in Sao Paulo. Luisao made a visit to Djair’s family last week, where they exchanged their jerseys.

On a serious note
Luisao is a very polite and simple person. He sincerely believes in the success of Indian football and wants to be a part of the Indian football in near future.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Karnataka footballer attempts suicide, dies in hospital

Our apathy towards sportsperson resurfaced yet again. In a shocking incident on Friday night, city footballer, A Ravindran, popularly known as Velu, attempted suicide by consuming poison. He was rushed to the nearby private hospital. After battling for life in the ICU, Velu was declared dead on Saturday, July 6.

Velu was on the rolls of Controllerate of Inspection Electronics (CIL), now known as Centre for Quality Assurance of Electronics and Radar Development (CQAL & R) as a guest player. He had turned out for this team in the Bangalore District Football Division (BDFA) super division league for many seasons.

A tenth-grader Velu was frustrated with life. In his suicidal note, he had mentioned of not having a decent job and marriage. He had also alleged his former CIL coach, Shayam Shahi, for a false job promise.

Velu first represented Karnataka in 1998, later he was offered a contract job at the CIL canteen, which he left after a year.

Bangalore football in poor state

This incident again highlights the poor condition of the local footballers. Football in Bangalore is dominated by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) teams. These teams are cash-trapped with minimal or no budget allocated to the team. Few soccer-enthusiast officials run the show.

The better players migrate to a different club outside Bangalore, the rest settles down by playing as a guest player with meagre pay, and the frustrated ones end their life.

High time to think about the players who bring laurels to the club, state, and country. All is needed is a job security.

Officials speak

Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) officials said that the entire incident is bad for the state football. However, they stood by the former CIL coach, Shayam Shahi. Incidentally, Shahi has been associated with the game for many years in Bangalore in the capacity of a manager, coach, and football official. He has trained many footballers.

Xavier Vijaykumar, Captain, HAL:
My deepest condolences to Velu’s family! May his sould rest in peace.

I’ve played with him in the under-21 and –19 tournaments. He was a robust footballer, utility player who was accustomed to play in all positions, be it defence, mid-field, or striker.

He used to think a lot about the game and wanted to be associated with it even after retirement. It is sad that we are loosing such players.

Ateast a decent job should have prevented him from doing such an act. I am told that he was promised for some job, however, I am not going to the authenticity of this information.

Velu played for CIL for many years and also captained last season, rather that waiting here, maybe he should have looked for other opportunities, that too when he was at his prime time.

A.R. Khaleel, President, KSFA:
Paying 500-600 per month is no good, players should be paid enough so that they can lead a decent life, atleast 3000 per month.

Simple solution to this is that the government or PSU, who run their football teams should change their policy on channelizing the talents. Since 80’s funds stopped coming to these teams.

To run a football team in Bangalore, you need a minimum budget of 50 to 80 lakhs per year. When the team displays a good performance at the top-level, the mileage an organization gets is enormous; many times more than the football budget.

I could see HAL trying to manage their team professionally. Also, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Bangalore putting up a good effort.

Shayam Shahi, former
coach, CIL and official, CIL:
Velu was hard working and was very good in speed and stamina, however, he was not a skillful player. He was ambitious but at the same time he was a short-tempered player.

Some wards told me that he was planning to end his life, however, we never paid heed to it.

When I first got the news, I could not believe it! I’ll try to help the family in my best possible capacity.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gumpe Rime moves out of HAL

Bangalore’s loss is Shillong’s gain. On the quest for the Bangalore footballers looking for greener pastures, here is the latest. Veteran custodian, Gumpe Rime is shifting his base. Come next season, he will don colors of newly promoted first division I-league team, Shillong Lajong FC.

Gumpe confirmed this news while speaking over phone.

“My main motivation in this game is to play at the highest level, I had a great time playing for HAL, but I would definitely like to be a part of a first division I-league team.” says Gumpe.

Pune Football Club – on the right track…

When I look at the progression of Pune Football Club (FC), one question always comes to my mind – after qualifying for the first division I-league, now what?

Within second year of formation, Pune FC has been promoted to the first division I-league. This indeed is a commendable achievement. My recent trip to Pune provided me an opportunity to visit their office and ask the officials about the same.

Backed by a corporate partner, Pune FC is probably the only club that runs a professional football club in India. In the era of professionalizing Indian football, one would get a true sense of how a professional club operates, when you visit their facility at Pune.

The reception center was flooded with youths that have come to enroll themselves for the under-17 trials.

Dr. Ashok Kumar, who is the general manager of Pune FC, since its inception shared his views about the team composition for the coming season and nurturing local talents as a part of the youth development program.

The team is almost set, however, the players list could not be disclosed until the official formalities are done. But definitely national keeper Subrata Paul is the prize catch. Team management is also finalizing the quota of overseas players. 3+1 formation (three overseas players plus one from the Asian origin) has provided them an opportunity to look out for a top quality Asian player.

New coach, Derrick Perrira has taken charge of the team. He has met the players, prepared training schedule, and handed over the schedule to each of the players. This will ensure that the players keep themselves fit during off-season.

Pune FC, will kick-off the training session in the first week of July. Two newly-laid pitches are prepared near Hinjewadi, outskirts of Pune. Come this season, the team will be practicing there. Later, July 13, they will move to Goa for the preconditioning camp. This training would involve practicing in the artificial pitches.

As a preparation to I-League, the team is pinning hopes on participating in the Western India Football Association (WIFA) initiated Maharashtra State league. This league would provide exposure to play with the top teams in the state. “I am hopeful the state league starts in this season”. Adds Dr. Ashok.

Later Pune FC will be participating in the IFA Shield, Durand Cup, and Federation Cup. This should give the team to play at least 9-10 matches. “Good built-up for going to the main stage – I-league”, recons Dr. Askhok Kumar.

“Team is mostly likely going to play their I-league home matches at the Balewadi Sports complex”, confirms Chirag Tanna. Only concern is the distance that the fans needs to travel, as the Balewadi Sports complex falls in one corner of the city

Pune FC is emphasizing a lot on youth development program. This year they are introducing an under-17 team, they already have under-15 and under-19 teams on board. However, team management felt that there is an utmost need to bridge the gap, hence forming a team for the intermediate level. There are not many tournaments for the under-15 team, once they come out of the age group, it becomes difficult to retain the skills till under-19 level.

The new under-17 team will ensure that the talent is not gone lost, they will be smoothly transitioned to under-19, and finally they will be graduated to play for the senior team. The current senior teams boasts of two such under-19 players. Also, the new under-17 team will participate in the local league B division.

Norbert Gonsalves is heading the youth development program, ably supported by former Pune FC player, Gift Raikan. The youth development program is fully focused on spotting local talents.
Professional outlook towards the game has not yet come here. But the Pune lads are intelligent and possess good game sense. However, they don’t take the game seriously at the later stage. Hopefully, the youth development initiatives would do a world of good to the rookies, and they too can dream of making it big to the national and international level.

The team footballers are slowly getting recognized among the masses, thanks for the consistent good show over the last year. Numbers of enrollments for the age group team trials are doubled this year.

All set for a bright football season!