Pune: Anuj Kumar and Mohammad Yasir have different roles, but essentially FC Pune City Under-19 team depends on their leadership qualities.
Anuj guards the posts, while Yasir controls the game from the centre of the park. These two leaders of FC Pune City led their side to Under-19 IFA Shield triumph by beating Mohun Bagan 3-0 in the Kolkata side’s den.
The victorious side returned to the city and the players are ready to on for a deserved break, and the two youngsters opened up about their recent achievement, considering it was the debut season for the Pune side.
Yasir revealed the journey of a team, which did not perform in the I-League Second Division but went on to clinch the IFA Shield.
“We didn’t do so well in the I-League, so we wanted to do well in the IFA Shield,” said the 18-year-old.
“We won all our group matches, but we were lucky in the semi-finals against the AIFF side. The team gave their everything in that match and reached the final.”
“In the final, we were under tremendous pressure as we were playing Mohun Bagan on their home ground, with their supporters cheering them and we had no supporters (to cheer us),” the midfielder, who can ply his trade on the left wing as well, recapped the journey.
FC Pune City’s colts are trained under the watchful eye of Spaniard Roger Lamesa, who returned to Spain after the tournament to attend his UEFA Pro License exam, is credited for bringing in the change in the side to the way it plays the game.
“Although we were under pressure, coach told us that, the pressure will be on the Mohun Bagan as they will be playing in front of their home crowd, so they cannot afford to lose the game,” said the lanky custodian.
The midfielder also joined his goal-keeper in heaping praise on Lamesa.
“The team wasn’t really tactically strong before he came, but after his arrival, we improved tactically as well,” he added.