Midfielder Altamash Sayed will lead an 18-member Pune FC squad in the 119th edition of the prestigious IFA Shield to be held in Kolkata from 21st May, 2015.
For the first time in history, the IFA Shield will be held as an Under-19 tournament and the young squad consisting of Peninsula Pune FC Academy (PPFCA) cadets will represent Pune FC.
The IFA Shield organised by the Indian Football Association (State Body, West Bengal) is fourth oldest competition in the world and second oldest in India behind the Durand Cup.
This will be the fifth time Pune FC participates in the IFA Shield and does so after a gap of one year. Post their promotion to the top flight in 2009, Pune FC has participated in the IFA Shield for four editions consecutively before missing out on the 2014 edition due to commitments in the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup.
Speaking about the opportunity to participate in a competition with so much history, Pune FC Coach Naushad Moosa said, “It’s a prestigious tournament and one of the oldest in the world. This is the first time the competition is being played for the Under-19s and we are happy to be part of it. We have worked hard and will be aiming for a good performance.”
He further added, “We have faced Mohun Bagan and United SC in the U19 I-League last month so we have an idea about our opponents and are confident about our chances. But at the same time we will be missing Dimple Bhagat and Md. Ashique. Both of them were important part of our squad but have been called up to the national camp.”
For the Pune FC Under-19 team, the tournament is the seventh tournament at the all-India level in the 2014-15 season having earlier participated in the Gorkha Gold Cup in Darjeeling, Bordoloi Trophy in Guwahati, DSK Cup in Pune, Kalinga Cup in Cuttack, Kalliayth Haji Memorial in Tirur and the U19 I-League.
The six participating teams in the competition will be split into two groups of three teams each. Each team will play two matches in the group stage before top two teams from each group progress to the semifinals.
The 18-member squad named by Coach Naushad Moosa which departs Pune on Thursday is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Sukhadev Patil, Tanmay Bhattacharjee
Defenders: Balkar Singh, Tarif Akhand, Asheer Akhtar, Myron Mendes, Asish Rai, Monoranjan Singh
Midfielders: Jesmon Soares, Altamash Sayed (C), Mohammed Yasir, Sanchayan Samaddar, Pradeesh Clement, Prakash Sarkar, Sannik Murmu
Strikers: Arif Shaikh, Farukh Chowdhury, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh
Officials: Naushad Moosa (Coach), Ranjan Chowdhury (Manager), Lino Sequeira (Physio), Mohan Dass (Asst. Coach)
Pune FC Schedule, Group Stage
23/05/2015 – Rd 1 vs. Mohun Bagan @ Mohun Bagan Ground (KO 3.15 PM)
25/05/2015 – Rd 2 vs. Mohammedan SC @ East Bengal Ground (KO 3.15 PM)