While Pune FC would consider themselves unlucky for not being able to take three points in their I-League debut match against East Bengal, one player who shone the most was Arata Izumi. In his fourth year in the I-League, Arata struggled to find his place in the starting XI at East Bengal and Mahindra United.
Born to an Indian father and Japanese mother, the Player
of Indian Origin (PIO), he previously played for Albirex Nigata in the S-League
of Singapore and also featured for Mizushima FC in Japan.
He didn’t enjoy a successful first season in India
due to “alien conditions, hard grounds and sweltering heat” and the following
season moved to Mahindra United where he spent two seasons and won the Durand
Cup and the IFA Shield.
As his initial potential had not yet been
fulfilled and everyone expected more, Pune FC came calling. Having had a decent
pre-season Izumi will be hoping to step up a gear this year and help Pune
challenge for honours. An attacking midfielder by preference he can also fit in
the right sided midfielder’s role.
When asked about his preferred role he said with a
grin, “I want to score goal from midfield.” And he wasn’t far away from doing that last
evening against East Bengal. A Chelsea FC fan by admission, it’s safe to say he
would like to emulate the performances and consistency of Frank Lampard.
On a personal note he seems to be enjoying life in
Pune. “I am happy here and relaxed. Now I just want to get started with the
season.” On asked what goals he had set this season, “We want to do everything
game by game and not get carried away.”
Apart from playing football Arata loves to “sleep
and watch movies”. And even though he doesn’t really follow any sport he enjoys
watching tennis. It is an exciting time for the young man.
His new club have
come into the big league with a lot of hope and ambition, and he must be
itching to get onto the field and work towards the ‘goal’.