2014-15 Federation Cup: Midfielder Arata Izumi to lead 20-man Pune FC squad

Long serving midfielder Arata Izumi will lead a 20-member Pune FC squad at the 36th edition of Federation Cup, in Goa.

This season will be Pune FC’s seventh appearance in the country’s premier knock out tournament since inception. Going into the competition, Pune FC will hope to build on their impressive start to the season, which has seen them finish runners-up in the Durand Cup in Goa and the King’s Cup in Bhutan.

For Arata, the competition will also be the second time he leads the team having already skippered Pune FC to a runners-up finish in Durand Cup in Goa earlier this season. The India international stands in after skipper and defender Anas Edathodika once again misses out due to an injury.

Speaking after touching base in Goa on Thursday, Coach Karim Bencherifa said, “The Federation Cup is a very important tournament. Our group is definitely the toughest out of the two groups in this year’s competition. But, I have full faith in all the players in our squad and we will give our best.”

With the competition following a revised format for the 2014-15 edition, Pune FC have been placed in Group-B along with four other teams - Shillong Lajong, Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC and Salgaocar FC. Pune FC begin their campaign against north-east side Shillong Lajong on Monday, 29th December at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco.

In the past, Pune FC have finished second in the group-stage on three occasions; behind group winners Salgaocar FC (2012), East Bengal FC (2011) and Shillong Lajong FC (2009). In the 2010 edition, they finished third behind East Bengal and HAL SC while in 2014 they finished last in the group stage.

In the 2008-09 season – the first ever since inception – Pune FC went down to HAL, Bangalore in the preliminary knock-out stages of the competition held in Bangalore.

The 20-man squad announced by Coach Karim Bencherifa is as follows

The Team

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Arup Debnath, Avilash Paul

Defenders: Luciano Sabrosa,  Matthew Gonsalves, Raju Yumnam, Zohmingliana Ralte, Salam Ranjan Singh,  Munmun Timothy Lugun

Midfielders: Bineesh Balan, Arata Izumi (Capt.), Ryuji Sueoka, Velington Rocha, Dhanpal Ganesh, Nikhil Kadam,  Anthony D'Souza, Mumtaz Akhtar, Lalrempuia Fanai

Forwards: Eric Brown, Thongkhosiem Haokip

2014-15 Federation Cup: Midfielder Arata Izumi to lead 20-man Pune FC squad
2014-15 Federation Cup: Midfielder Arata Izumi to lead 20-man Pune FC squad
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