South United FC rope in experienced names to boost campaign

Bangalore’s South United FC have roped in three experienced players -- Lalam Puia, Abhishek Aich and local lad Vinoth Kumar -- in a bid to bolster their I-League Second Division chances.

“I believe the inclusion of these players will help us go all the way,” coach Raman Vijayan told mediamen here on Friday. “All these three are young but are extremely talented. They are experienced and have had stints at good clubs. We’ve realised we need some expertise if we desire to play in the I-League.”

Mizoram’s Puia, who will add ammunition to the strike force, is a product of the famed Tata Football Academy and has represented Kolkatan giants Mohun Bagan for three seasons before playing a season each for Prayag United and Mumbai FC.

Prayag United’s Aich will add muscle to the central midfield -- a crucial area -- while Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club’s Vinoth Kumar will provide him support on the flanks.

When asked if he is confident of making the cut when the Second Division kicks off here at the Bangalore Football Stadium, Vijayan felt the competition will be about the survival of the fittest. “I feel the Second Division is far more difficult than the elite league.

“The reason being the heavy workload. We’ve got to play 10-12 matches in 45 days, that’s an average of around two matches per week.

“There will be plenty of injuries and fatigue and Second Division teams don’t have rich resources. So it’s all about survival and we are confident about doing so.”

Meanwhile, Lokknath R Char, CEO of Lokko Sports -- the company that owns South United -- revealed that plans are afoot to conduct football clinics in Mumbai and Bangalore in association with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“It would be a four-week programme and is open for boys and girls in under-12 and 14 categories. The kids will spend three weeks with Lokko Sports and a week with Real coaches. There will be a fee for it which we are yet to decide. Talented kids from the underprivileged section will be given concession.”

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