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Hindustan FC set sights on I-League

Hindustan FC’s run in the second division I-League was never an unlived dream,but for most of the current bunch it must have been as the Delhi club gears up for its first I-League shot in three years.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 18, 2009 4:00:06 am

Hindustan FC’s run in the second division I-League was never an unlived dream,but for most of the current bunch it must have been as the Delhi club gears up for its first I-League shot in three years. They were there for three consecutive years — 2004-05,2005-06 and 2006-07 — and then found themselves knocked out,not by a team but by some technicalities. The AFC had handed the AIFF a fifteen-point criteria for the I-League teams,of which the club didn’t fulfil many at that time.

After some sock-pulling in the following years,Hindustan FC have come knocking at the doors. Two points of the long list they still don’t meet,but they hope to get over it in time.

“We were getting invitations for participating in I-League II,but we didn’t fulfil all the conditions — those of being a private company and an office in the club’s name. We’re expecting the papers approving the first point any day and have engaged a company secretary. We’ll open the office by July,” Hindustan FC general secretary DK Bose told Sportline.

Skipper Pushpender Kundu,the only player to share Hindustan’s revelry at I-League II,says it’s been some time coming. “I missed it every year; even after playing for six years (three years with Indian Nationals) because every time we got so close to qualify from the toughest groups. Winning the DSA title charged us up,but we always wanted to play outside. The boys were desperate this year and the new set players of players are indicative enough,” Kundu said.

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The player-hunt is far from over with the first transfer window only half-way through,but the priority areas aren’t hard to pick. Goalkeeper Surjit Singh,left-back Amanpreet Singh and midfielder Raju are all products of JCT Academy and the club is going to play the wait-and-watch game before any big signing.

“We are looking at young players for now. Our striking zone suffered last year and there we need foreigners. But our last year’s signings weren’t that good as we got them on recommendations. This year we want to see everybody before signing as the I-League and Federation Cup are the most important tournaments. We are looking to build the core and avail the second window to strengthen the unit. Then the craze for big players will get over and bargaining would be easy too,” Bose said.

A few other constraints,apart from the technical ones,needed to be seen through as well and they had to part ways with Manoranjan Bhattacharya,who coached them to the DSA title last season. “Due to budget constraints we couldn’t renew the deal with him and he also couldn’t have given us the time we wanted. We have appointed Surinder Kumar as the new coach.”

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