Being privy to the everyday functioning of football clubs, the impact a club's closure can have on a player who plied his trade for the club is often devastating. Luciano Sobrosa is no different.
Signed from Mohammedan Sporting on a year-long deal, the veteran defender made 20 appearances in the league for Pune FC, scoring two goals and helping the team finish fifth in the I-League under coach Karim Bencherifa's tutelage. He also reached the finals of the Durand Cup and the King's Cup, hosted in Bhutan, in 2015.
However, as Goal exclusively revealed in October, Pune FC and their city rivals Bharat FC brought the shutters down over their clubs' first team operations, citing an unresponsive business model. They have however opted to keep their respective academies functioning.
Goal caught up with Sobrosa and quizzed him on the impact the closure of Pune FC had on him as a professional. His reply was terse with emotion, as he referred the Red Lizards as 'the perfect professional club.'
"I feel very sad. The club was very professional. They knew how to treat the players. I did not expect that they would close down their senior team. It is bad for Indian football, all the players have to now find new clubs. Pune FC was one of the best clubs in India in terms of coaching, players and facilities. Now that it is closed, it is one step back for I-League and Indian football," replied the I-League winning Sobrosa, clearly in a sombre and reflective mood.
Responding to a question on how he felt for his now former teammates, the former Salgaocar FC marksman answered, "I feel bad for them. Some of them are very good players and I hope they get into a new club soon. They cannot stay at home for six months and they have to play regularly. Now that there are less clubs in the I-League, the competition for places will be tough."
Finally, Luciano refused to delve too deep into what his next move was, in Indian football, after the ISL. "For now, my focus is solely on the ISL. We are looking at it game by game and first target is to qualify (for the semi-finals) and then the finals. Let's see (after that), I hope for the best," he concluded.