PUNE: City-based Indian Super League (ISL) Club FC Pune City announced the Club’s preparations for the Season 5 of the league in an event called ‘Shankhnaad’ on Saturday.
After the most successful season in the team’s history, where they made it to the semi-finals of the ISL for the first time in four years, the Stallions vowed to become the only third team to lift the ISL trophy.
On the sidelines of the event, FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel spoke to Sakal Times about the upcoming season, Club’s latest signing Iain Hume, an imminent appointment of the new coach and the young prospects.
The Club had announced in June that they had reached an agreement with Brazilian Marcos Paqueta to be their next head coach for the 2018-19 season before Paqueta terminated the contract stating a personal reason. Then, the Club had to release a statement saying that they are not in touch with Scottish Club Hearts’ assistant boss Austin MacPhee, as the appointment of the gaffer took another twist.
“We are being careful with the appointment of the coach, after what happened earlier. We are making sure that we don’t chase the big names but we are focusing on what we want as a club,” said Modwel to end the saga about who would succeed Serbian Ranko Popovic, who led the team to the semi-finals last season.
Two days ago FC Pune City made a statement of intent with the signing of Canadian striker Iain Hume for the upcoming season with an option to extend for one more year.
Hume, who is the highest goal scorer in the history of the ISL with 28 goals in 59 games, will form a formidable front three with Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro along with Indian striker Robin Singh and Brazilian winger Diego Carlos.
“Even last year we held talks with Iain about the possibility of him joining our team, but we signed Marcelinho. But since then I always dreamt of forming an attacking trident of Marcelinho, Alfaro and Hume,” said Modwel, who expects the striker to be fit to take the field by November.
As the new season beckons, the Stallions would look to go one step further than they went last season and lift the coveted trophy.
FC Pune City has always focused on the grass-root development and the club will announce the new development programme in the coming months. The club’s development programme has paid rich dividends so far with the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan making it to the first team. Speaking about the young prospects from the academy, club CEO pointed out that Pune boys- midfielder Gaurav Swaminathan and Ishan Dey are the brightest prospects, who will play for the team’s U-18 side as the club looks for a loan stint for them in Europe.
Gaurav Modwel also added that six players from the club, highest number for any ISL side, from the club academy are being called up for the SAFF camp by India head coach Stephen Constantine.
SEASON 5 FROM SEPT 29
ISL is yet to announce the commencement date and the fixtures for the fifth season of the league, but the clubs have been informed that the league would start on September 29 and would go on till mid-March. The season will have three international breaks with the first break scheduled from October 8-16 with the second break in November from 12-20. The third break would be the long one, with tentative dates being December 12 to January 24 or 29. The season 5 of ISL and the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 6 are bound to clash with PKL starting on Oct 5 with the matches starting at the same time as ISL. Thus, it is learnt that it is a divided house between the clubs at what the kick-off time should be, as clubs are exploring options between 7 to 8 pm.