New Delhi: India and Churchill Brothers defender Gouramangi Singh is being considered highly by the coach of Australian League newcomers Melbourne Heart FC, the side which has offered him a trial next month.
"Indian football is very much an unknown quantity, but I am confident Gouramangi has the potential to make an impression here in Melbourne," Melbourne Heart FC head coach John van`t Schip said.
"Despite his (young) age, he is already an accomplished international footballer, having played in a number of important matches for India, including World Cup qualifiers," Schip said at the club website.
"The club will have a close look at his ability, and determine whether he is both capable of making the transition to the A-League and playing the football we want to play," said the Dutch.
Melbourne Heart FC Chief Executive Officer Scott Munn believes the move is an important step in building closer ties between Australian and Indian football.
"India has a long history of getting behind its sportspeople. If Melbourne Heart FC or the A-League can assist in developing the profile and quality of Indian football and Indian footballers, there are obvious benefits to football in the Asian confederation," he said.
"We worked closely with organisations such as FIFPro Asia to identify players who have qualities to succeed as professional footballers. We are glad we are in a position to give Gouramangi the opportunity to work with international level coaches, such as John van`t Schip, and international players on a daily basis," he said.
24-year-old Gouramangi, who has earned 21 international caps till date, has been an important member of the Indian national team for the past few years under coach Bob Houghton.
He was a member of the Indian side which won Nehru Cup in 2007 and 2009 and was also a part of the AFC Challenge Cup winning side, which took India to the Asian Cup finals, to be held in January 2011 in Qatar, for the first time since 1984.
He was adjudged `Best Defender` for the 2008/09 I-League season. He has featured in three AFC Cup tournaments for three separate clubs (Churchill Brothers 2010, Mahindra United 2006 and Dempo 2005).
If Gouramangi can earn a contract at Melbourne Heart, he will be playing alongside Australian internationals John Aloisi and Simon Colosimo next season.
He will also become only the fourth Indian to play professional football outside the country after Mohd. Salim, Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri.
Formed in 2008, Melbourne Heart FC was awarded an A-League licence in 2009 to compete in the 2010-2011 season of the A-League (top division league of Australia).