Being a football club owner in the Indian Super League (ISL) isn’t easy; just ask FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel. As the chief of Maharashtra’s second ISL club, Modwel has plenty of experience in the game. Aside from running FC Pune City, he’s also the CEO of the Wadhwan Group.
But having all the experience in the world didn’t stop Modwel and his impressive team from letting down fans when they failed to qualify for the final four of the tournament in the last two consecutive years. These losses have left many wondering how Modwel and his stellar players like Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rahul Bheke, Sanju Pradhan, Bruno Arias, and Apoula Edel let this happen. In an interview with Yahoo Sport UK & Ireland, Modwel shared his thoughts on the past and his expectations for the future.
In terms of FC Pune City’s last season, Modwel recognizes that his team actually started very strong. His team had one of the best rosters in the league and that reflected in all of their games up until their game in Kerala. That game was a “wake-up call” for Modwel and the players, but unfortunately they were not able to pick themselves up after that loss.
Previous to Kerala, until their seventh game, FC Pune City was number one. And even after the ninth game, the team was still carrying its weight being joint-first.
Despite Modwel’s team being on a losing streak, there was never any friction or segmentation amongst the coaching staff and the players. Everyone seemed to be on the same page, which makes the team’s losses even more of a mystery for all of us.
Because it’s been tough to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, Modwel confirmed that these days he’s focusing on talking with field experts to find out where the faults were and how they can improve as they continue to move forward. The reality is that losses can happen to any team. The key is to learn from those mistakes and improve them in the next season.
One of those lessons is regarding team recruitment. According to Modwel, he thought he had one of the strongest teams on paper. Part of their strategy was to recruit players with a proven record because they didn’t have the time to develop players. But even though quality was paramount within their players, one aspect that perhaps could have been better was age. Most of Modwel’s hires were players who were above 30 years old. In Modwel’s eyes, age doesn’t necessarily affect performance, but at the moment he’s evaluating all variables in the team.
The end goal for Modwel is to build an even stronger team and bring the cup to Pune. Even though they’ve had challenges along the way, Modwel assured that the vision for the team continues to be the same – make Pune a winning city.