A 20-member Pune FC squad will head north-east to the foothills of the Himalayas as they participate in their first ever international open overseas tournament – the King’s Cup, Bhutan which begins on November 15th.
For Durand Cup finalists Pune FC, the King’s Cup will be the third international tournament, and they will carry the experience of playing in the AFC Champions League 2014 Play-Off and the AFC Cup 2014 Group Stage into Bhutan.
Pune FC, who replaced Thailand’s Osotspa FC, are the third Indian side to participate in this year’s competition along with Kolkata’s Mohun Bagan AC and Assam Electricity Board.
Ahead of the team’s departure, Pune FC Head Operations Chirag Tanna said, “I am grateful to the Bhutan Football Federation for inviting us to the King’s Cup. The team is motivated to do well in this prestigious tournament.”
The King’s Cup is not only the most prestigious football tournament but also one of the biggest sporting events in the nation. And, for the 2014 edition of the competition, a total of nine teams from Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Bhutan will face off for the title.
Pune FC who are placed in Group-B, will be up against fellow Indian side Assam Electricity Board apart from defending champions Manang Marsayandi Club, Nepal; Abhani Limited, Bangladesh and Bhutan’s Ugyen Academy with top two teams qualifying for the semifinals.
Interestingly, Bhutan will be the fourth country to host Pune FC after Hong Kong (played Kitchee FC), Singapore (played Tampines Rovers) and Myanmar (played Nay Pyi Taw FC) played hosts in the AFC Cup 2014.
Pune FC who head to Bhutan on Thursday, begin their campaign against defending champions MMC, Nepal on Sunday, 16th November at 7.00 pm. All games will be played at the Changlimithang Stadium in capital city Thimpu.
PUNE FC SQUAD
Amrinder Singh, Moniruzzaman Ansari, Avilash Paul
Luciano Sabrosa, Zohmingliana, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Srikanth Ramu
Bineesh Balan, Arata Izumi, Ryuji Sueoka, Dhanpal Ganesh, Nikhil Kadam, Mumtaz Akhtar, Fanai Lalrempuia, Velington Rocha
Eric Brown, Prakash Thorat, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Shoaib Syed
PUNE FC FIXTURES
November 16: v MMC, Nepal – 7.00 PM
November 20: v Ugyen Academy – 5.00 PM
November 23: v Assam Electricity – 3.00 PM
November 25: Abhani Limited – 3.00 PM
November 29 – Semifinal 1: Winner Gr-A v Runners-up Gr-B
November 30 – Semifinal 2: Winner Gr-B v Runners-up Gr-A