5 Gurjinder Kumar
- Place of Birth
- Date of Birth
- Joined Since
Gurjinder Kumar comes straight from India’s best football academy, a graduate of the esteemed Tata Football Academy (TFA). He also has a strong footballing pedigree to back that up. His father played for many years for Punjab state. His father wanted the tradition to continue in the family but it took a tragedy for the focus to shift to Gurjinder.
At age 10, his elder brother, whom his father was grooming, died and it was then that the Punjabi lad started playing football more seriously. From 2001-07, he lived football at the Chandigarh Football Academy under coaches Harjinder Singh and Shahji Prabhakaran. He also attended an India Under-19 camp. After Chandigarh, he was selected at the SAI trials, but did not think that is what he was looking for at that point of time. Then he attended the Tata Football Academy (TFA) trials and was directly taken in for the seniors.
The years at TFA really shaped Gurjinder as a footballer. Under TFA coaches Ranjan Choudhary and P Bijaykumar, his game gained poise and his confidence increased immensely. He believes that the TFA stint made him the player he is both physically and mentally.
The high point of his footballing career so far has been an IFA Shield match between TFA and East Bengal in Calcutta which TFA won 3-1.
He brings some serious skills to the field apart from the fresh legs. He can attack and defend, a mindset so crucial for someone playing left back. He is not afraid to move up front and fancies his freekicks. Freewheeling overlapping runs on the side, thanks to his unrestricted attitude is an asset that Pune FC has literally.
This being his first pro assignment – incidentally his third year in succession – he has cemented himself in the squad as a regular. It is something that coach Derrick Pereira looked at personally back in 2010.
Such was Gurjinder’s commitment that he was voted Pune FC’s Best U-23 Player of the Year 2010-11.
The youngster from Nawanshahr has scored 4 goals for Pune FC – 1 in season 2010-11 and 3 in season 2011-12. In fact, in the season gone his strike against Chirag United Kerala during the Round-3 game at home was adjudged ‘Pune FC Goal of the Year, Award’. The goal, incidentally, was the opening goal of the match that ended 3-1 in Pune FC’s favour and turned out to be the first win of the I-League 2011-12.
Kumar’s leisure pursuits include listening to music and talking to his folks back home. But its football really that is his life and the long term plan is to play for the India senior time in due time, which he did manage when he did National duty in the 2012 pre-Olympic qualifiers.
Gurjinder made his debut against Qatar (India lost 1-3; 19th June, 2011). Subsequently, he earned his maiden India national camp call-up for the AFC Challenge Cup. In the run-up to the tournament, he made his senior debut against Oman (India lost 1-5; 23rd February, 2012).
The other highs achieved at Pune FC include figuring in both exhibition games against Blackburn Rovers (at Pune; 7th October, 2011) and FC Bayern Munich (At New Delhi; 10th January, 2012)
Satisfied to make it to pro level and don the National colors, his achievement so far is something that has made his father a very happy man.