Bollywood celebrity Hrithik Roshan-owned FC Pune City have made major investments, boosting not only their preparations ahead of the upcoming Hero ISL season, but also for an envisioned approach of turning the club into a football powerhouse.
FC Pune City have acquired the services of I-League club Pune FC’s academy and their home-grown talent. Besides joining hands with the Pune-based football venture, the ISL outfit has also invested in a project to upgrade their infrastructure by creating top-end training facilities.
The declaration of support between these football entities from the Maharashtrian city comes as a lifeline in the aftermath of two local clubs exiting the I-League.
The AIFF was earlier dealt a huge blow as their plans to expand the league was put on the back foot with Pune-based clubs Bharat FC and Pune FC pulling out of the I-League despite owning licenses.
Limited revenue generation, lack of broadcasting rights and no marketing plan were cited as reasons for their withdrawal.
The Pune FC academy is based out of Balewadi, Pune, and was inaugurated as the Peninsula Pune Football Club Academy (PPFCA) in 2011. The academy has been spoon feeding talent to their senior team by grooming youngsters in the age brackets of U-15, U-17, and U-19.
The players of the academy are part of a two-year residential training programme offered and is spearheaded by Ranjan Chowdhury who is the Head of Youth Development.
The academy is famous for supplying Indian national team with promising players such as the striking sensation Thongkhosiem Haokip, Bengaluru FC centre-back Salaam Ranjan Singh and Zohmingliana Ralte. The academy have also won trophies and won the Under-20 I-League twice, back-to-back in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
FC Pune City team's management have also set-up their training base in Pirangut, Pune.
Pune City’s CEO Gaurav Modwel had this to say, "In addition to top quality coaching, the club plans to add several other programmes like customised strength and conditioning programmes, sports related psychological development, specialised skill-based clinics, basic academic programmes including communication and soft skills to develop young players as well as rounded personalities without distracting them from the primary objective," he said.
The facilities at Pirangut are one of the best in India and has amenities that can only improve the Indian football scene.
The ISL club have signed former Chelsea and Barcelona player Eidur Gudjohnsen, and Mexican striker Aníbal Zurdo.