Bharat FC completed the deal for Palestine international center-back Omar Jarun on an 18-month loan from North American Soccer League side Ottawa Fury. This signing ensures The Lions have reached the quota of maximum number of players allowed of foreign nationality for any I-League club. Jarun joins Englishman Bobby Hassell in the heart of defence with New Zealand striker Kris Bright and Benin midfielder Romuald Boco accounting for the rest of the foreigners onboard at Bharat FC.
Moreover, Jarun also fulfills the Asian player criteria in accordance with the AIFF rules and regulations with regards to foreign players in the I-League. A mainstay in the North American soccer scene since he turned professional with Fort Wayne Fever in the 2004-05 season, Jarun also plied his trade with Chicago Fire Premier, Atlanta Silverbacks and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The end of the 2008-09 season saw him take up the European challenge with a transfer to Polish side Flota Swinoujscie, for whom he turned out on 18 occasions. Then ensued stints with Pogon Szczecin and Arka Gdynia before a move to Belgian first-division outfit Sporting Charleroi for a solitary season. Jarun finally returned to Canada in 2014 with Ottawa Fury the benefactors, where he appeared 8 times and scored twice.
Standing at an imposing 6'5", Jarun also brings along with him the experience garnered at the international stage with Palestine. Despite moving to the United States of America at the age of seven after having been born to an American mother and Palestinian father in Kuwait, Jarun took up the responsibility to turn out in the Asian country's colors in 2007. He has made 11 appearances for them since, forming a part of the successful Palestine side that lifted the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives.
Naturally known to be imperious aerially at 6'5", Jarun will bring more physicality to Bharat FC's game. With a plethora of options in defence with Hassell, Gouramangi Singh, Dharmaraj Ravanan and now Jarun, head coach Stuart Watkiss can mix and match his team selection as they enter the most crucial phase of their debut I-League season. “We are playing a lot of games in the next three months and it is important that we have the right players to get the positive results. Omar is someone who I have followed for quite some time. He is strong, has a very calm head and knows exactly what his job is. His height is a factor and allows us to possess a credible threat while going forward,” he quipped.
Jarun's arrival in Indian football can also be viewed as positive news in terms of foreign players' involvement and willingness to take up the sub-continental challenge. While it might get some time for Jarun to get accustomed to the tropical climate here after the relatively cool atmosphere of Canada, Poland and Belgium, the towering defender seems upboeat and eager to get playing time as soon as possible.
“Bharat FC has a very interesting vision. It is a club with high ambitions and serious about what they are doing. Also, the club has managed to assemble a top-notch coaching staff and that was one of the other reasons behind me choosing to come to India," said the 31-year old. He also added, "“The competition is very unpredictable and any team has the potential to win on any given weekend. From what I have seen, the League is played with a lot of passion and I think I am in for a very intense experience,” speaking on what the I-League might have in store for him.
For what it is worth, the opposition will definitely have a task on its hands when they come up against a player of his stature and physique as Bharat FC prepare to take on Royal Wahingdoh in Shillong on March 21 when the I-League gets underway again. The Kalyani group owned outfit is currently 8th in the 11-team table.