Goa and Kolkata are arguably the two hubs of Indian football towards which every person who aspires to be a footballer travels to in the aim of getting noticed and climbing their way to a national call up. Dharmaraj Ravanan is no different. The Tamil Nadu footballer is one of many from his state who are away from home plying their trades in different I-League clubs in India.
An I-League champion with Churchill Brothers, he was a key part of their title-winning campaign holding the defence together admirably. However he has other reasons to smile about. The news about English club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) making an entry in the 2014-15 I-League season has gotten the 25 year old excited about the prospect of returning home.
Air Asia, promoters of QPR, are in talks over establishing their footprint in Indian football.
"It’s not just me, there are several players from Tamil Nadu who are playing in the I-League and would love to come back here and play for a local team. We all are waiting for it to happen. I’m happy at Churchill, but if I get an opportunity to represent a team from Chennai, it’ll be great,” Ravanan told The Times of India from his Trichy home.
The defender will be leaving for Goa on Saturday to begin preparations for the 2013-14 season and gave further inputs on how a local team can help football in the state.
“After Indian Bank, we haven’t had a top club from the city. So, our players had to look for something beyond Tamil Nadu. But this project will change the entire scenario as footballers from all levels will get a platform to showcase their talent,” opined Dharmaraj.
The Churchill man reportedly had offers from the I-League’s latest additions in JSW and Mumbai Tigers, but chose to stay put with the Red Machine.
“I don’t want to take a chance now. And if I have to change my club I will do that next year. I’m keeping my options open as playing for a Chennai team is my priority,” the defender revealed.
The man from the industrial town of Neyveli also felt that if Tamil Nadu players playing for I-League clubs were united under one banner, they would form a formidable team.
“Kali Allauddin (Mumbai Tigers ), M Pradeep and Prem Kumar (both Air India), N Mohan Raj (Pune FC), D Ganesh (Pailan Arrows), Nidhin Lal (Mumbai FC), CS Sabeeth (Mohun Bagan) are all very good players and I think they will be considered,” he said.
According to Dharmaraj, there is a problem of relocating to a different city for many players in Tamil Nadu.
“I know many players who don’t go to other cities because they are not comfortable about leaving Chennai. But if they have a good option in the city, it will be a big help. It’s very important to have a city team in the I-League, it helps to promote the game in the state. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium can be a great home venue for us as well,” Ravanan said.