Pune: Indian Super League side FC Pune City players Israil Gurung and Manish Maithani are set to join the B team of Portuguese top flight side Vitoria de Guimaraes on loan till the end of the current season under an agreement between the two clubs.
The Pune-based franchise of the ISL has entered into an agreement with Portuguese top flight club, Vitoria de Guimaraes to loan two of its players to the Portuguese club's B team until June 30.
25-year-old Gurung, born at Kalimpong in West Bengal, and Dehradun-born Maithani (27) will become the first players from ISL to join a prestigious football club in Europe.
Vitoria de Guimaraes, also known as Vitoria Sport Clube, play in the Primeira Liga (Portugal's top division league). The club is based at the northern Portuguese city of Guimaraes and currently fourth in the Primeira Liga. The B team play in the Primeira Segunda (the second tier league).
Maithani is a central midfielder, who represented India in 2012 while Gurung played an important role for FC Pune City with a consistent performance on the wing. Both the players are expected to join the Portuguese team within a week.
Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City said, "Until now, the gates for Indian footballers to ply their trade in foreign leagues had not opened. This scenario has changed considerably with the ISL revolution. The league is being telecast across the world, providing a window to managers and technical staff of global clubs and football scouts to witness first hand Indian players' talent."
An ecstatic Manish Maithani said, "It is very rare that an Indian player gets a chance like this and I am grateful to the management of FC Pune City for making this happen. I was getting a lot of offers from other I-league clubs and I chose not to take them and hoped that this deal will go through. Now that it has happened I want to focus on giving my best to the team and contribute to Vitoria whenever I am called upon."
"It will be quite different from what we are used to in India. But, I am sure that with a lot of hard work in training, we will be able to give a good account of ourselves during our time in Portugal. It will be a different culture but I hope to learn a lot from this experience and become a better player," Gurung said.