Pune: Long-serving midfielder Arata Izumi will lead a 20-member Pune FC squad at the 127th edition of Durand Cup, in Goa.
The third oldest football competition in the world, continues to remain Pune FC's top-priority season opener and this will be the sixth time Pune FC will figure in the tournament.
Incidentally, the competition was the first National-level meet the team played after coming into existence in 2007.
For Arata, this is the first time he will captain Pune FC in a tournament. The India international gets the opportunity after skipper and defender Anas Edathodika misses out due to a hamstring injury.
Like the previous edition, Pune FC is seeded directly into the quarterfinal group stage and is paired along with Churchill Brothers and a qualifier in Group-IV. Pune FC begins their campaign against Churchill Brothers on Friday before facing the qualifier on November 4 at the Raia Sports Complex in Goa.
Going into the tournament after a long pre-season, Pune FC will hope to better their best ever performance of reaching the semifinals in the 2011 edition of the competition.
Moreover, having had a dismal run in the 2013 edition, the lads will be eager to put on a good show.
The 20-man squad announced by coach Karim Bencherifa consists of eleven retained players, eight new signings and an academy graduate.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Arup Debnath, Moniruzzaman Ansari. Defenders: Mathew Gonsalves, Zohmingliana Ralte, Luciano Sabrosa, Srikanth Ramu, Salam Ranjan Singh, Raju Yumnam. Midfielders: Dhanpal Ganesh, Arata Izumi (Capt.), Prakash Thorat, Anthony D’Souza, Eric Brown, Mumtaz Akhtar, Fanai Lalrempuia, Ryuji Sueoka. Forwards: Bineesh Balan, Shoaib Syed, Thongkhosiem Haokip.