FC Pune City send Israil Gurung and Manish Maithani on loan to Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes
FC Pune City are sending two of their players, Manish Maithani and Israil Gurung on loan to Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes, in what is a landmark announcement coming from any of the ISL clubs.
The Pune-based franchise entered into an agreement with Vitoria de Guimaraes to help such an opportunity develop and will now send Maithani and Gurung to Portugal to play for Vitoria’s “B” team till the 30th of June, 2015. It is expected that the players will travel to Portugal within the next week.
Vitoria are currently fourth in the Portuguese League and are fighting for European qualification for next season. They are probably the most popular club in Portugal after the big three of FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica.
Pune City FC’s CEO, Gaurav Modwel, said, “Until now, the gates for Indian footballers to ply their trade in foreign leagues had not opened. This scenario has changed considerably with the ISL revolution. FC Pune City currently has a partnership with Italian Club Fiorentina and is now reaching out to other clubs in foreign leagues for exchange of players. This, I believe will further open up newer avenues for Indian footballers.”
“The management of Vitoria de Guimaraes, with their foresight, has been able to see the potential of young Indian players and their long-term contribution to Indian football. I am hopeful to build a strong association with them and regularly exchange players with them,” he added.
Club co-owner Hrithik Roshan said that this was a moment of great pride and said, “You can’t ask for much more than that, but now the boys have to do what they’ve got to do and earn the right to get picked every week, train hard and perform well and then earn the respect of the fellow team members and managers. On behalf of the club and fans, I wish the boys all the best for their stint.”
The 27-year-old Maithani has played for clubs like Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting, before joining FC Pune City. He said, “It is very rare that an Indian player gets a chance like this and I am grateful to the management of FC Pune City for making this happen.”
Gurung, who is 25 years old, was a key fixture in the Pune City team and was part of the I-League winning squad of Churchill Brothers in the 2012-13 season. Expressing his happiness, he said, “It will be quite different from what we are used to in India. But, I am sure that with a lot of hard work in training, we will be able to give a good account of ourselves during our time in Portugal.”
Here is the official announcement from FC Pune City on their Facebook page: