The Pune Football Club (PFC) may be one of the newer teams in the I-League,but they have had a fairly good run this year,this despite them grappling with a spate of injuries to some of their key players such as Indian team custodian Subrata Paul,PFC reserves keeper Shahinlal Meloly and Abhra Mondal.
While PFC must be given their due for having performed well despite setbacks in the goal-keeping department,a major cause of concern is that they have missed out on valuable points on numerous occasions. The fifth round league match against East Bengal,the match against Shillong Lajong FC that PFC drew where Mondal was injured and the encounter with Sporting Clube De Goa where they lost 4-2 are some of the prime examples.
PFC coach Derrick Pereira admits that this has been a cause of worry,but is admits that these are part and parcel of the game. Yes we have lost three of our keepers during the league and also lost valuable points,but we have some talent coming up. The reserves keeper and also our third choice keeper Amarinder have all got valuable experience.
Paul had sustained his injury before the league began in October last year when he damaged a ligament in his left knee at the Federation Cup encounter against East Bengal.
On the other hand,Shahinlal sustained his injury in the round five league against East Bengal in November where he injured his left shoulder. Meloly had been the standout performer during PFCs match against Blackburn Rovers,where he saved a number of shots earning praise from the Rovers team and management.
Both Subrata Paul and Shahinlal Meloly are now back training. Team physio Tariq Sheikh says both of them have got enough rest and the process of their rehabilitation has already begun. There is a gradual sports rehabilitation programme that we follow. In the case of both Paul as well as Shahinlal Meloly,they have been rested for three months allowing their injuries to heal.
In case of Abhra Mondal,however,his collision during the Shillong match three weeks back saw him break his right shin bone. Sheikh says that while he is currently back home in Kolkata resting he is ruled out for the time being.
However,as coach Pereira has pointed out the games have helped the players hone their skills. Amarinder Singh,the current keeper who played in PFCs last two outings in Goa against Sporting Clube De Goa and Dempo SC showed gumption and spirit.