Pune: After being associated with FC Pune City in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor is now on board as the co-owner and brand ambassador of the Pune outfit.
Kapoor takes the place of Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan who was the face of the club since it was launched.
Sakal Times caught up with Arjun Kapoor who spoke about his love for the game and the plans he has for the club.
“It is very important to have a journey which is fruitful and positive. So when I met the owners and I got along with them, I always wanted to connect at a bigger level and then this opportunity came by where I felt that these are the right people, they do have a vision for the city, community and the cultural elements for making FC Pune City a household name within the city first which is very important. They are not only looking at it from the financial perspective, they want to embed themselves in the community. I have spoken to them very often about what they doing. They have been bringing in younger footballers, women footballers, providing the training facilities, the infrastructure and creating an environment where there this genuine love for the club. It’s a long term perspective so I felt that it is the best fit for me,” Kapoor informed.
“Because I had dealt with the club earlier, I didn’t really need to have a conversation with anyone as such. I knew exactly what I was getting into. And Ranbir Kapoor who is a friend is also an owner of a club. Abhishek Bachchan owns Chennaiyin FC. I have seen how they function. So I didn’t really think too much, I just jumped at it. It was something that I wanted to do. I am very passionate about it,” Kapoor added.
When quizzed whether he followed Indian football before the ISL happened, Kapoor said, “I did not follow Indian football that much. Obviously the international arena has been something that’s been telecast for many years now on our TV screens and I have been a huge follower of Chelsea. In Indian football off course we all are aware of the I-League. We are aware of the issues football has faced in the past for getting it’s due and the infrastructure. I feel that the ISL is providing that foundation where Indian football overall can get it’s due.”
A lot of celebrities are getting involved in sports and are owners of teams which is helping in drawing in the audiences. When asked about his views on the trend Kapoor said “I think it is an amalgamation of the sport doing well and the correct people who are passionate coming together. I think it is never about just the face and the game. I think it is the combination of everything.
So today when you see kabaddi doing well and and you see Abhishek involved with Jaipur, it is because the team is playing well, the sport is doing well and he is able to provide a connect. So more people have joined the bandwagon. So I think it is important for the combination to fall into place.”
When asked about how involved he will be this season Kapoor was quick to say “I have right now got involved only about two weeks back and they are pretty much set in motion for this season. I want to observe, learn and I want to be part of understanding things. It is always easy to tell others to do this and do that.
You need to understand what the restrictions and possibilities and what their ambitions are. I have heard them out but I want to sit on each and every aspect of it and build on it. I am not looking at smaller targets. For me the big target is we must have more Indian players emerge and become poster boys for allowing a movement and change where many more young boys want to play the sport and pursue it. That is the biggest goal for me and off-course I want to bring the city together to watch the match.”
“What we need is Indian stars and for that we need passionate footballers. I am quite excited about building a self sufficient pool of talent where at least we know that our playing eleven is strong no matter who we have signed or who we have not. Off course we need good players. I think experience is very important to be able to survive seasons,” Kapoor concluded.