Pune F.C.

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Pune FC
Full name Pune Football Club
Nickname(s) Red Lizards
Founded 2007
Dissolved 2015
Ground Balewadi Sports Complex
Pune, Maharashtra
Ground Capacity 11,000
Owner Ashok Piramal Group
Chairman Nandan Piramal
Head Coach Karim Bencherifa
Website Club website

Pune Football Club was an Indian professional football club based in Pune, Maharashtra. The club was one of the most professional clubs in Indian football history, known mainly for their focus on fanfare, professional playing set-up, and focus on youth development.[1] The club was owned by the Ashok Piramal Group.[2]

Founded in 2007, the club managed to gain promotion to the I-League in 2009.[3] In their first season in the I-League, the club managed to finish in a very surprising third place[4] before having their best ever season during the 2012–13 season in which they finished in second place.[4]

Pune used to has a rivalry with fellow Maharashtra club Mumbai, with whom it contested the Maha derby.[5]

The club pulled out of I-League earlier 2015-16 season.[6][7][8] The main club shut down its operations while Pune F.C. Academy was acquired by ISL club, FC Pune City.[9]



In 2007, Indian football was in the process of a renovation, mainly with the start of the I-League replacing the old National Football League.[10] However, despite this, the All India Football Federation still had trouble attracting investors to create new clubs, specially outside of West Bengal, Goa, and North East India due to the fact that, despite a good number of fans in these areas and good wages to players, the clubs in these regions still had trouble creating any profit.[11]

Ashok Piramal Group, a company based in Maharashtra, however did the opposite.[11] Despite the city of Pune not having much history when it comes to football or much support for the sport, which is overshadowed by cricket, Ashok Piramal Group still created Pune Football Club in 2007.[11] In creating the club they created one of the first clubs in India named after the city they were playing in and representing.[11]

I-League 2nd Division (2008–2009)[edit]

Pune Football Club Players and staff at the practice ground in 2008

In preparation for their first ever season in the I-League 2nd Division, the club signed mainly a bunch of unknown players and also signed on Stewart Hall as the first head coach of the club.[11][12] The club were grouped in Group A during the 2008 I-League 2nd Division along with Vasco, ONGC, HAL, and Chirag United.[11] Midway through their 2nd Division campaign the club changed coaches, going from Stewart Hall to former Northern Ireland national teamer, Bernard McNally.[13] The club finished in third place in Group A and thus failed to advance further that campaign.[11]

The club then participated the next year in the 2009 I-League 2nd Division where there were now four promotion spots up for grabs instead of the usual two as the I-League was going to expand.[11] Before the season began the club re-hired former coach Stewart Hall to coach the club.[14] Also before the season the club managed to make many changes to the squad.[14] At the end of the season Pune managed to finish in fourth place with a 3–0 victory over SESA Football Academy and thus earn promotion to the I-League for the first time in their history.[15]

Early I-League and Derrick Pereira Era (2009–2013)[edit]

Pune Football Club's first season in the I-League was the 2009–10 season. Pune selected the Balewadi Sports Complex in Balewadi, a suburb of Pune, as their home stadium.[16] Before the season began the club made headlines when they signed the current India number 1 goalkeeper, Subrata Pal, from East Bengal and by also signing Japanese midfielder Arata Izumi from Mahindra United.[3] At the same time the club also signed Derrick Pereira to be the head coach of the team after Stewart Hall resigned.[3] Before joining Pune, Pereira was head coach at Mahindra United where he had won the National Football League and the Federation Cup. He also took Mahindra United to the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup in 2007.[17]

Pune played their first I-League match against East Bengal, which was also their first home match in the I-League, on 3 October 2009 in which the final score was 0–0.[18] Pune had no wins, six draws, and two losses in the league before winning their first ever I-League match on 9 January 2010 against JCT 2–1.[19][20] At the end of the season Pune finished in third place which was called a success by the club due to their weak start in the league.[20]

The summer of 2011 would be an important time for Pune. On 23 June 2011 it was announced that Pune would start the Pune F.C. Academy team which would make Pune the first team in I-League with an academy team.[21] Then on 25 July 2011 it was announced that Pune's Brazilian striker Edmar Figueira would join the Portuguese top flight Primeira Liga with C.D. Feirense which would be the first-time a player from the I-League would sign for a team in a top 10 European league based on the UEFA coefficient.[22] Then on 26 September 2011 it was announced that Pune would play English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, who are owned by Indian owners Venky's, in a friendly. Thus making Pune the first ever Indian club to play a friendly against an English Premier League team.[23] The match was then played on 7 October 2011 at the Balewadi Sports Complex in which Pune lost 0–3 to Blackburn.[24] Then on 22 October 2011 it was announced that Pune had tied-up a partnership with IT giant Infosys which would see more promotion of the club through media networks.[25] Then on 11 June 2012 Pune became the first Indian football team to participate in a transfer between another I-League club, Prayag United, when Pune sold midfielder Lester Fernandez to Prayag for 20 lakh.[26]

The club then finished the 2012–13 season with their best finish yet in the I-League by finishing in 2nd place, just behind Churchill Brothers S.C. for the I-League crown.[4]

Mike Snoei Era (2013–2014)[edit]

After the 2012–13 season finished it was announced that coach Derrick Pereira had resigned as Pune FC coach to return to his former club Salgaocar.[27] Soon enough though Pune were able to sign Pereira's replacement in former Vitesse Arnhem head coach, Dutchman Mike Snoei for the new season.[28] Also, with the new coach, came a new direction for Pune with the director of the club, Nandan Piramal, stating that the club would focus mainly on youth development while also mixing youngsters with a good group of senior players.[29] The club then made new signings in the foreign department by signing Superettan player Calum Angus and former A-League player James Meyer.[30] The club also signed current Equatorial Guinea international, Raúl Fabiani, who also played for his adopted country in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.[30]

The first tournament the club took part in was the 2013 Durand Cup in which the club sent a mix of players from the first-team and the Pune F.C. Academy with the three senior players being Caitano Costa, Shahinlal Meloly, and Prakash Thorat.[31] The club however did not make it out of the group stages.[32] Pune then played their first I-League match under Snoei on 21 September 2013 against Mohammedan at the Salt Lake Stadium in which Pune won the match 3–1 thanks to a double from Fabiani and a goal from Meyer.[33]

Then, on 29 January 2014, Pune played their first ever international club match when they took on Vietnamese side Hanoi T&T in the 2014 AFC Champions League qualifier first round at the Balewadi Sports Complex. The club however suffered a 3–0 defeat in that match, meaning that they would have to play in the 2014 AFC Cup that season.[34]


The Balewadi Sports Complex during a match between India and Vietnam on 8 October 2010.

Since Pune made their debut in the I-League they have always played at the Balewadi Sports Complex which is located in Balewadi, a suburb of Pune.[35] The stadium was also the site of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.[36]

The club also trains on the outskirts of Pune in an area called Mamurdi on their own training ground.[37]


The club is currently owned overall by the Ashok Piramal Group.[38] The current club chairman is Nandan Piramal.[39]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2007—15 Adidas Peninsula
2015—16 7070 Sports


First-team squad[edit]

As of 10 August 2015[40]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Amrinder Singh
2 Brazil DF Luciano Sabrosa
3 India DF Matthew Gonsalves
6 India DF Yumnam Raju
7 India MF Bineesh Balan
8 India MF Arata Izumi (captain)
10 Portugal MF Edgar Marcelino
11 Japan MF Ryuji Sueoka
13 India DF Zohmingliana Ralte
14 India DF Denechandra Meitei
15 India DF Anas Edathodika
16 India MF Velington Rocha
17 India MF Dhanpal Ganesh
18 India DF Nawab Zeeshan
19 India MF Nikhil Kadam
20 India FW Prakash Thorat
No. Position Player
21 India MF Anthony D'Souza
22 India GK Arup Debnath
25 India DF Srikanth Ramu
26 India MF Fanai Lalrempuia
27 India MF Snehasish Chakraborty
28 India FW Thongkhosiem Haokip
29 India FW Syed Shoaib Ahmed
30 India GK Avilash Paul
31 India GK Moniruzzaman Ansari
32 India MF Surojit Bose
33 India DF Munmun Lugun
34 India DF Henry Monsang
35 India DF Jessel Carneiro
36 India MF Lalram Luaha

On loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
24 India DF Salam Ranjan Singh (at Bengaluru)[41]


See Pune U19

Notable former players[edit]

This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.

Current technical staff[edit]

Mike Snoei was the manager of Pune F.C. during the 2013-2014 season.
As of October 2013.[42]
Position Name
Head coach Morocco Karim Bencherifa
Assistant coach India Gift Raikhan
Physiotherapist India Tariq Shaikh
Fitness coach India Sridhar Krishnamurthy
Kit manager India Prashant Naidu
Academy director India Ranjan Chowdhury
Academy coach India Naushad Moosa

Coaches history[edit]

As of 17 February 2014
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win% Honours
Stewart Hall  England 2008 Unknown None
Bernard McNally  Northern Ireland 2008 Unknown None
Stewart Hall  England 2009 9 5 2 2 9 6 055.56 None
Derrick Pereira  India May 2009 May 2013 104 48 32 24 167 110 046.15 None
Mike Snoei  Netherlands July 2013 May 2014 19 6 6 7 21 24 031.58 None
Karim Bencherifa  Morocco July 2014 May 2015 16 6 5 5 21 20 037.50


Results of league and cup competitions by season
Season Division P W D L F A Pts Pos Federation Cup Durand Cup AFC Cup Competition Result Name Goals
League Asia Top goalscorer
2008 IL2 5 2 1 2 8 6 7 3rd, Group A &
Nigeria Emeka Ogbonna 4
2009 IL2 9 5 2 2 9 6 17 4th &
India Jeje Lalpekhlua 3
2009–10 I–League 26 10 12 4 38 23 42 3rd Group &
Brazil Edmar Figueira 14
2010–11 I–League 26 9 9 8 32 27 36 5th Group Group &
Guinea Mandjou Keita 11
2011–12 I–League 26 13 7 6 44 34 46 5th Group Semi-Finals &
Guinea Mandjou Keita 14
2012–13 I–League 26 14 4 6 53 26 52 2nd Group Group &
South Sudan James Moga 16
2013–14 I–League 24 7 8 9 53 26 29 7th Group Group Group &
Netherlands Riga Mustapha 7
2014–15 I–League 20 8 5 7 30 28 29 5th Group Runners-Up &
India Thongkhosiem Haokip 7

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bhutani, Rahul. "Pune FC – I-League's Gift To Indian Football". The Hard Tackle. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Pune FC not optimistic about IPL-style football: Rohan". Zee News. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Agarwal, Atishay. "I-League Crystal Ball Series: Pune FC". Goal.com. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "I-League 2012-13: Pune FC's best ever season". Pune Football Club. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mumbai FC, Pune FC ready for 'Maha derby'". Western India Football Association. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Pune FC likely to shut first team operations, Bharat FC's future up in the air". goal.com. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Indian Super League - Luciano Sobrosa: 'Pune FC's closure is one step back for I-League and Indian football'". goal.com. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "OFFICIAL: Salgaocar and Sporting Clube De Goa pull out of I-League 2016-17". goal.com. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "FC Pune City takes over Pune FC's academy and outlines its plans for Football development". Indian Super League. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "How-to-win-a-tourney tips from IIM to Lajong - Shillong B-school offers expert advice to boost confidence level of I-League entrants". Telegraph India. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Ajgoankar, Ashlesh. "Pune Football Club – Leading The Way In Indian Football". The Hard Tackle. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Gift Raikhan". Pune Football Club. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Banerjee, Subhajyoti. "Indianfootball.com Interview: Bernard McNally". IndianFootball.com. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Mondal, Subhankar. "On Stewart Hall's Departure From Pune FC". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Lajong, Pune FC in I-League". Times of India. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "I League 2009-10: Pune FC to face Kingfisher East Bengal". Kerala Football. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Bali, Rahul. "I-League: Derrick Pereira On His Time At Mahindra United". goal.com. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "PUNE FC VS. EAST BENGAL 0 - 0". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "India 2009/10". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "Team work main factor for Pune FC success story in I-League". Times of India. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Pune FC to launch training academy". Indian Express. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  22. ^ Malhorta, Kratik. "I-League: Edmar Takes A Flight From I-League To The Portuguese Top Division". goal.com. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Blackburn Rovers to play Pune FC on October 7". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Blackburn Rovers beat Pune FC 3-0 in exhibition match". India Today. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Pune FC sign two-year deal with Infosys". Times of India. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "India sees introduction of transfer fees as Pune sell Lester Fernandez to Prayag United". Sports Campus. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "Coach Derrick Pereira to leave Pune FC". 
  28. ^ "Dutch coach Mike Snoei to take charge of Pune FC next season". Kick Off India. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  29. ^ Bali, Rahul. "Pune FC Director Nandan Piramal: We felt it was the right time to push our youth". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Srivastava, Ayush. "I-League Team Profile: Pune FC". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  31. ^ "Durand Cup 2013-14: Defender Costa to lead Pune FC". Pune Football Club. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  32. ^ "ONGC beat Pune FC 2-1, qualify for semis of Durand Cup". NDTV Sports. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  33. ^ "MOHAMMEDAN VS. PUNE 1 - 3". Soccerway. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "AFC Champions League: Pune FC go down 0-3 to Hanoi T&T FC". NDTV Sport. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "SHREE SHIV CHHATRAPATI SPORTS COMPLEX". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  36. ^ "Police station at Balewadi on cards". Times of India. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  37. ^ "Pune Football Club to hold open trials". Indian Express. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  38. ^ "IndianFootball Interview: Harish Piramal". IndianFootball.de. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "'We Want To Build An Institution' - Pune FC Chairman Nandan Piramal". Goal.com. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  40. ^ "Squad". Pune F.C. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  41. ^ "Bengaluru FC sign defender Salam Ranjan Singh". Bengaluru FC. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  42. ^ "Management". Pune Football Club. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 

External links[edit]