Pune FC add Nicolau, Gabriel and Zeeshan
Pune FC on Monday confirmed the signing of Nicolau Borges, Gabriel Fernandes and Nawab Zeeshan for the remainder of the ongoing 2013-14 season.
The Goan duo- Borges (left-winger cum defender) and Gabriel Fernandes (attacking winger) has been roped in on-loan from Mohun Bagan and Dempo SC respectively, while Nagpur-lad Nawab Zeeshan Ur Rahman has penned a long 3-year deal.
The trio, thus, turns out to be most ever signed by Pune FC during the second transfer window.
Pune FC Head of Operation Chirag Tanna said: "With the upcoming AFC fixtures, it was important for us to get more depth in our squad. We were monitoring Zeeshan's progress for some time now and when an opportunity arose to sign him, we couldn't let it pass. Gabriel and Nicolau have I-League experience will play an important role for us for the remainder of the season."
Margao-based Nicolau, 34, began his professional career at Sporting Clube de Goa in 2004 after playing for a few amateur clubs. The winger cum defender then spent three years at Sporting before switching to state-rivals Dempo SC in 2007.
During his six-year stay stint in Dempo, Nicolau won three I-League titles apart from two Super-Cups and represented the Goans in AFC Cup and the ACL play-off against Al-Sharjah.
At the start of 2013-14, Nicolau joined Mohun Bagan and has made a total of 3 I-League appearances, including one against Pune FC in Balewadi apart from playing frequently in the Calcutta Football League.
Fellow state-mate Gabriel, incidentally, began his as a junior at Dempo SC before moving to Sesa FA and then to Sporting Clube de Goa.
Moving out of Goa, the Porvorim-born Gabriel joined Mumbai FC in 2012-13 and made his name. Playing a total of 24 games, Gabriel scored 4 valuable goals to help Mumbai FC to a respectable eighth place finish.
At the start of 2013-14, twenty-five year old Gabriel made the switch back to his first club, Dempo SC. Gabriel, who is comfortable playing as a lone striker or on any wing, has made a total of nine substitute appearances for the Goans.
Pune FC's third signing is Nagpur-born defender Zeeshan who arrives from the now defunct Mumbai Tigers. After playing for a few local clubs, Zeeshan joined Mumbai Tigers (then Dodsal FC) in 2012.
During his time with them, the left-back has been a finalist (2012) and a semi-finalist (2013) in the Durand Cup apart from playing the 2013 I-League second division.
Zeeshan, thus becomes the fifth Maharashtra player to represent Pune FC after striker Sandesh Gadkari (2007-2011), winger Paresh Shivalkar (2010-12), winger Nikhil Kadam (2012-present) and striker Prakash Thorat (2013-present) since promotion to top flight.
(Posted on 13-01-2014)