Interview with FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel: "The aim of FC Pune City will always be to lift the trophy"
Since their foundation in 2014, FC Pune City have finished 6th in the 2014 edition of the Indian Super League and 7th in the 2015 edition. With the new season nearing, Stallions' CEO Gaurav Modwel speaks with Sportskeeda about their target in 2016, their new marquee player Eidur Gudjohnsen, and their all important project with the Academy.
What are your thoughts on the signing of Gudjohnsen?
Ever since we have talked to Eidur, it became pretty clear to us that we were really looking forward to a player like him and not only in terms of his vision and his blind touches in front of the box. What really is exciting about him having a deal with us is the fact that he is a thorough gentleman, he is a great leader and he commands respect in whichever team he is playing with.
That was the case throughout his career in Barcelona and Chelsea and now most importantly his role as a player and a mentor in the Iceland national team was really impressive. We were looking for someone who can bring the team together and can keep them together.
Taking into account last year's experience when the team fell down after the losses and lost the motivation to fight back, we needed someone who has that kind of experience, who has worked with teams that know how to fight back. I really thought that Eidur has it in him, so I am very excited about him joining us.
What are Pune City's goals for this year's Indian Super League?
The aim of FC Pune City will always be to lift the trophy. The ambitions are high now. It's been two seasons and we haven't even gone to the play-offs, so obviously we are targeting that. What I said last year as well, our target is to lift the trophy, so our aim remains to win, but we do understand that this is one of those leagues that are very difficult.
So, you have to fight and fight for the matches before you first qualify for the play-offs. You have to take one step at a time. A match at a time. Our aim will really be to take a major step and thus to fight for the games to qualify for the play offs. The game changes thereafter.
Currently you work hard on a new project after taking over Pune FC's academy and all its operations. Could you tell us more details about this?
Academy is very important in our short history of Pune City. There were times when everyone used to talk about us, not only about us, but also about all the Indian Leagues. Once I was told that these are moving circuses, they come to the city to move. These are not real clubs. Ever since, this remains stuck in my mind and it is important.
Forever since then I wanted to build all those aspects to the club, which really enables people to relate with it not for three months, not for four months, but throughout the year. On the other hand, also one of the three main objectives of the club are to grow football, on-pitch performance and finally create fans who will be central to us.
Looking to grow football and having a youth sector, which are characteristics of international quality, is something we are lacking in India today as far as sports are concerned and more particularly football. So, we wanted to build an academy.
We were planning to do it last year but once we got an opportunity and Pune FC was closing down its Academy System we thought it was a good chance to actually re-open the contract of the players. We got the facilities for some time, for a few months from now, which is a good enough time for us to build our own facilities and grounds.
We already have a training ground. We have a good time to do that, but it is just not reviving. The process needs an expansion. Now, we are starting with this platform to take the academy to the next level and we are very committed to it.
There will be many many things in this academy, done for the first time, and possibly certain things which are better even than those of the national leagues. It is just the begginning and we have some very interesting plans to take forward.