New Delhi: All India Football Federation (AIFF) is all set to welcome a new corporate team DSK Shivajians to infuse more professionalism and raise the competitiveness of Hero I-League, the premier football tournament of the country.
DSK Shivajians, one of the eminent clubs based in Pune who qualified through direct bidding, will made its debut in the 2015-16 season of the league to make the contest more aggressive and vigorous.
Although Shivajians Football Club was a familiar name in Pune football circuit, it failed to hit the national stage primarily.
DSK Group, an avid supporter of football, acquired the club in 2010 and subsequently it was baptised as DSK Shivajians Football Club. Since then, it has been a glorious anecdote for the Pune club, especially in grassroots and youth development.
DSK Shivajians FC is the first Indian club to have a tie up with an EPL powerhouse in terms of grassroots and youth development.
Liverpool Football Club (LFC) International Football Academy-DSK Shivajians is one of the major footballer breeding factories in India and they have proven their worth in the national stage.
Lallianzuala and Mawihmingthanga, the creme-de-la-creme of the academy, have donned the national jersey already and the youngsters have thwarted many an opponent in the ongoing U-18 I-League so far.
Commenting on the development, Ardeshir Jeejeebhoy, CEO, DSK Shivajians FC, said: "For us the grassroot programme is very important in identifying the youngsters first and letting them play the game at a participation level. From there, if we can identify certain talent which comes through, we can nurture them over the years and it would be a natural progression for those talent into our senior team which is something we hope to built."
DSK Shivajians have made their debut in national stage in second division league in 2013. Albeit they have outsmarted five opponents out of eight in the group, a loss to Rangdajied United, eventual champions, hurt their maiden national outing.
Shirish Kulkarni, President, DSK Shivajians FC, was delighted at the development but seemed composed at the crucial juncture.
"We are really excited to be a part of the Hero I-League and we look forward to competing with all the big clubs of Indian Football. We know its going to be a big challenge for us but we have full confidence in our own abilities," he said.
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, wished the Pune-based club ahead of their inaugural Hero I-League endeavour.
"We are glad that DSK Shivajians have come up with a bid to join the Hero I-League. They have made a very good presentation about their work on grassroots, youth development and the DSK Shivajians' Liverpool Academy. Although some minor formalities are remaining, their entry in the Hero I-League will ensure a representation from Pune," he said.