What's the Story?
Indian striker Ishan Pandita has penned a deal with La Liga II club Gimnastic de Tarragona for the remainder of the season. The 132-year-old club announced the signing of the 20-year-old via their official Twitter account.
However, he will not play in their first team as of now. Instead, Ishan will don the #32 jersey in their subsidiary club, CF La Pobla de Mafumet, which competes in the Tercera Division-Group 5 - the fourth level of the Spanish football league system.
In case you don't know...
Ishan Pandita was first spotted in 2012 at the 'Airtel Rising Star', a talent hunt organized in Bengaluru by Manchester United. Although he couldn't make the final cut of 12 players who got a chance to attend a week-long training camp with Manchester United Soccer Schools in Old Trafford, his morale didn't hit a roadblock.
Two years later, he took a bold move of leaving behind his studies and boarding the flight to Spain to pursue a career in football. It might have seemed nonsensical then, but is now bearing fruits.
The heart of the matter
This isn't Ishan Pandita's first foray into the Spanish waters. In 2016, he etched his name into the history books by becoming the first Indian to sign a junior contract with a La Liga side. CD Leganes, who are currently 13th in the La Liga, took note of his talent and signed the youngster in their U-19 team. Unfortunately, an injury halted his run and he had to come back to India.
CF La Pobla de Mafumet are currently sitting in the fifteenth position in their group comprising 21 teams. The condition of their main team isn't great either as they are at the bottom of the pile at the halfway mark.
While the standard of ISL and I-League are way more rigorous than that of the Spanish fourth division, he can make the jump to their main team if he impresses the club officials with his scintillating performances.Published 14 Jan 2019, 19:32 IST