Jamshdpur: Defending champions Pune FC will be out to maintain their reputation in the Under-20 I-League 2013 football to be held here from Tuesday.
First up for the champs is Prayag United SC at the Gopal Stadium in the opening match of the tournament. They have been clubbed in Group A.
Having traveled to the Steel City Sunday, the Pune FC U-20s had their first workout at the JRD Sports Complex (Archery Academy ground) Monday. The session lasted 90 minutes, which was aimed to get the boys into match mode.
Overlooking the session, head of youth team, Ranjan Chowdhury, remarked: "All boys in good shape. They are all mentally and physically fit and ready to take off. There is a lot of expectation. The boys want to prove themselves again."
However, in saying so Chowdhury warns that this edition will not be easy.
"Almost all teams have undergone changes. Some have included players who have played in the I-league. The inclusion of Tata Football Academy and Sesa FA adds more competition," he said.
"The U-20 League has become a matter of prestige for the teams and exactly why I say that the tournament will be tough," Chowdhury adds
Pune FC this year will be led by the experienced midfielder in Abung Meetei.
Goalkeepers: Avilash Paul, Sarif Molla.
Defenders: Anuj Negi, Ts. Henry Monsang, Riyan Yadgiri, Narendra Vakare, Janak Kudmal, L.H. Lalrinwma Rintea, Y. Denechandra Meitei, Salam Ranjan Singh.
Midfielders: Nikhil Kadam, Abung Meetei, Rugved Yeole, G. Karthik, William Lalnunfela, F. Lalrempuia, R. Shivram.
Strikers: Subhasis Bose, Deepak Kumar, Thongkhosiem Haokip.
If you do well at Asian Games, then you get confidence of winning a medal at World Championships.