thumbnail Hello, spoke to the Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira about his team’s chances of making it through to the next round of the Federation Cup and their transfer activity this season.

The calendar says August 29, which effectively means that there are less than 20 days left for the start of the Federation Cup which is to be held in Pune and Kolkata. With Pune FC set to play in the group marked as the ‘Group of Death’ - composing of East Bengal, Dempo SC and one of the two teams progressing through from the qualifying stages, spoke to the Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira about his team’s chances of making it through to the next round of the Federation Cup and the transfer activity carried out by the club in the summer.

Speaking about PFC’s Cup draw, Pereira said that he wasn’t particularly pleased with the group but believes that his Puneites can upset both, the Goan giants Dempo and Kolkata giants East Bengal.

“At first, when we were notified of the draw…yes, it seemed like a difficult group with East Bengal and Dempo, both of who are really good teams. Thus, the first reaction wasn’t the most pleasant but I strongly believe that if you prepare yourself well for these games, anything can happen. We believe that we can upset both the teams," said Derrick.

The former Mahindra United coach also remarked that he felt that it was great to play the best teams at the start of the season. “It’s great to play good teams now because good results against them will give us confidence and thereby, help us to progress through to the next round. Beating both will be really fruitful for us for the rest of the tournament.”

“Both the teams are great with top class quality. But it’s not only about them, apart from them we cannot disregard the team which will come through the qualification round,” he added.

Even though Pune are one of the co-hosts for the tournament, PFC play their matches in Kolkata. When the fixture list for the tournament had came out, it had led to the club expressing major dissatisfaction. Speaking on this topic, Derrick Pereira said that as the Red Lizards are the only team from Pune, the club playing in Pune would have been great for Indian football.

“As we are the only team from Pune, it would have been good had we played in the city. It had been good for Indian football as well considering the crowd that we would have attracted in Pune. Thus, it had been more interesting had we played in Pune but it wasn’t to be.”

(Pune FC's New Recruit - T.Karma)

A part of PFC’s pre-season training was held in Goa with its main aim being to get the team to gel well. After having success in the pre-season, Pereira looks forward to another season of delightful football.

“Our pre-season in Goa has been good and we have had certain players impressing us greatly. However, the important thing is to take the preparations and the momentum forward and do well this season. Our main aim was to get the team together and work on the various aspects of the game as a whole, and after a good pre-season, we are hopeful to see the results this year.”

Talking about the signings that the club has made so far, the coach said, “We have brought in a good bunch of young players in the transfer window like R.Srikant, T.Karma and Maninder, and they all have done well in the pre-season. They have shown enough promise for me to be confident and say that our bench strength will be better this season.”

Pereira feels that his squad has the necessary depth and quality in terms of the Indian players amongst his ranks. However, he still wishes to sign a couple of foreigners in order to repeat the success that his team had achieved in their debut season in the top division.

“We have signed some good Indian players, so, I think we are strong in that department with enough cover in every position. But we are finalizing foreign players before the transfer window shuts down.”

Red Lizards start of their Federation Cup campaign against Dempo SC in the second match of the day on September 17 in Kolkata.

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