Durand Cup 2013-14: Defender Costa to lead Pune FC
Experienced defender Caitano Costa will lead Pune Football Club at the 126th edition of Durand Cup, in New Delhi.
The third oldest football competition in the world, like in the past, continues to remain Pune FC’s top-priority season opener as it was the first National-level meet the team played after coming into existence in 2007. This is the fifth time Pune FC will figure in the tournament.
Seeded directly into the quarterfinal group stage, Pune FC is grouped along with Army Red and former I-League side ONGC FC in Group-IV.
Pune FC begins their campaign against Army Red on Monday, 9th September and then takes on ONGC on Friday, 13th September at the Ambedkar Stadium.
To date, Pune FC’s best-ever performance in the tournament Durand Cup came in the 2011 edition when they made it to the semifinals.
The team this year is a mix of Senior and Peninsula Pune Football Club Academy (PPFCA) Under-19 players. The Seniors include skipper Caitano Costa, goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly, Gobin Singh and striker Prakash Thorat. Interestingly, the team includes 4 Pune-based players; Harshad Lunawat, Rushab Dhere, Vikas Zanze apart from Thorat.
Ranjan Chowdhury, Pune FC Youth Head said: “It’s a tough mission for the boys and certainly a platform that will help them grow and prove their mettle. The opportunity is a once in a life time one for all the youngsters. We are hoping for the best and the boys are geared up to put their best foot forward.”
Pune FC goes into the championship with the hope of topping the group and making it to the semifinals. Last year, Pune FC made their exit in the group stage after two draws against Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Sesa FA.
This year the championship offers an increased prize purse. The winners stand to gain Rs. 25 lakhs, while runners-up will get Rs. 15 lakh. The two semifinalists will get Rs. 5 lakhs each.
Goalkeepers: Shahinlal Meloly, Avilash Paul
Defenders: Caitano Costa, Gobin Singh, Henry Monsang, Kaushal Singh, Harshad Lunawat
Midfielders: Rushab Dhere, Manimaran R, Kiran C, Rohit Kalsotra, Altamash Sayed, Soubhagyan PL Somrajan, Diganta Khaddar, Sumit Kumar Dubey
Strikers: Prakash Thorat, Subhasish Bose, Vikas Zanje
Manager: Ranjan Chowdhury; Coach: Naushad