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Pune FC all set for Durand Cup challenge
Pune Football Club will continue their trend of opening the new season by playing the Durand Cup, in New Delhi.
The third oldest football competition in the world remains important to Pune FC as it was the first National-level meet the team played after coming into existence in 2007.
Chirag Tanna, Pune FC Head of Operations, explained, “The Durand Cup will and shall remain a memory; therefore we have made this tournament our top priority.”
In the current tournament, Pune FC are grouped with Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and I-League Division-2 Sesa Goa Football Academy in Group-II of the 125th edition of the cup. Last year, Pune FC wrote a new chapter in their history by making the semifinals, incidentally a first ever.
This is the fourth time Pune FC figures in the tournament.
Pune FC begins their campaign against CRPF on Friday, 23rd August at 4.30 pm and then take on the Goan side on Tuesday, 27th August at 2.00 pm at the Ambedkar Stadium.
Seeded directly into the quarterfinal group stage, Pune FC will aim to top the group and qualify for the last-four. The group stage features 12 teams – includes five I-League, three 2nd Division and four qualifiers – divided into four groups.
The championship this year offers the winners a reward of Rs 10 lakh, while runners-up will get 5 lakh. The two semifinalists will get Rs 2.5 lakh each.
Having completed preseason practice at Goa, Pune FC left for the capital city on Tuesday.
Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira, meanwhile, announced a 19-member team and included striker Jeje Lalpekhlua and left wing back N Mohanraj. Both players were released from the National camp recently.
Tanna added, “I expect the team to put up a strong performance. Jeje and Mohanraj’s presence in the squad for the Durand Cup is a big advantage.”
Shahinlal Meloly, Amarinder Singh; Othallo Tabia, Srikant Ramu, Chika Wali, Anas Edathodika, Caitano Costa, Zohmingliana Ralte, Gurjinder Kumar, N Mohanraj; Karma Tsewang, Vellington Rocha, Shanmugam Venkatesh, Mumtaz Akthar, Asim Hasan, Arata Izumi, Nikhil Kadam; Jeje Lalpekhlua, Subash Singh.