The city of Pune is ready to witness a historic exhibition match, when Pune FC takes on Blackburn Rovers SC at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Friday.
Derrick Pereira’s team is looking forward to lock horns with the visiting EPL side and to display a spirited performance against the likes of New Zealand skipper Ryan Nelsen, former England international David Dunn, former Spanish international Michael Salgado and Congolese defender Christopher Samba.
The “Red Lizards” will miss the services of India keeper Subrata Pal and Guinean forward Mandjou Keita due to injury. The absence of Subrata Pal is a major concern for Pereira, as the I-League team is expecting a lot of pressure from the Rovers offence.
Former Indian international Shanmugam Venkatesh will skipper Pune in the absence of Pal. Venkatesh feels that his team will “need to keep our reputation by playing well which will be our mission in the game.”
“It is a huge game no doubt but above all it presents a very great opportunity for us to learn. I have been telling all that they have to just enjoy the game and put up a good show for our fans, ” PFC coach Derrick Pereira told the club website www.punefc.com.
“The spirit of the team is good and the players are looking forward to the game tomorrow. We have one of the most passionate fans in the country and we want to put a good show for them,” Pereira added.
Chirag Tanna, PFC’s Head of Operations has made an appeal to all fans in Pune to attend the match in huge numbers and to show their support for the I-League side. “The important thing is fans need to turn up for the game, which I am sure play a part in supporting this game,” Tanna told.
Pune FC has asked their fans to “wear red T-shirts, windcheaters, jackets, carry banners with messages to their favourite team and players and create a ‘red-out’ in the stadium.”
Meanwhile, the English visitors took part in the final of the “RoverStars” event at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex today. The competition was launched in the summer to find two young players who will selected to train at the Rovers Academy later in the season.
Club officials and players were quite impressed by the hospitality and the interest in football they faced so far in India. Rovers captain Ryan Nelsen told the official club website: “We have had a wonderful welcome and response from the Indian people since we first touched foot in the country. We are all enjoying ourselves and have no doubt that football has now become very popular here.”
Rovers center-back Scott Dann said: “We have played at so many places in the world and have seen so many fans cheering us at airports but this was so unique. It was like being at the football World Cup. The noise, the atmosphere was totally like that.”
The Pune FC vs Blackburn Rovers FC match will be broadcasted LIVE on TenAction+. Further I will be providing additional LIVE COVERAGE on a SPECIAL PAGE on Facebook. The LIVE COVERAGE on Facebook will be available at http://www.facebook.com/cpd81?sk=app_171437692937066
PUNE FC SQUAD
vs Blackburn Rovers
21-Shahinlal Meloly, 30-Amrinder Singh
2-Othallo Tabia, 3-Caitano Costa, 4-Chika Wali, 5-Gurjinder Kumar, 15-Anas Edathodika, 17-Kamaljeet Kumar, 25-Srikanth Ramu, 27-Rollingson Hungyo
6-Shanmugam Venkatesh [C], 7-Baldeep Singh, 8-Arata Izumi, 11-Douhou Sey Djidja Pierre, 14-Karma Tsewang, 20-Paresh Shivalkar, 22-Lester Mark Fernandez, 23-Jayashelan Prasad, 24-Maninder Singh
9-Jeje Lalpekhlua, 12-Singam Subash Singh, ?-Duncan Tarley
Derrick Pereira (Coach), Dr. Ashok Kumar (Team Manger), Tariq Shaikh (Physio)
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