Pune, 22th October: Pune FC Academy’s goalkeeper Debopriya Das made a name for himself at the recently concluded 56 Subroto Cup International Football Tournament in New Delhi picking up the prestigious ‘Best Goalkeeper’ award.
The Kolkata-born youngster received his first ever award at the national level and winning it in India’s oldest youth level competition is definitely something to cheer about.
“I was very happy when I came to know about the award. It was a great experience just playing in my first Subroto Cup. I had only won a few awards at the local level but an award at National level with foreign teams is always special,” expressed ‘Debo’ as he is fondly known.
Interestingly, having suffered an injury in the preseason, Debo missed out on Pune FC’s triumph in the Administrator’s Challenge Cup in Chandigarh just a week before the Subroto Cup. In fact, he returned to competitive action only after four months having last played in the PDFA Super Division League 2014-15 in May.
Moreover, being drafted into the squad just couple of days before the competition, he travelled alone from Pune to join his teammates who travelled directly to Delhi.
Sharing the experience, he said, “It is difficult when you are out of competitive action for a long time. I suffered two injuries during the preseason and so I was not at my best coming back. However, my Coach Rakesh Walhekar, and my teammates gave me the confidence and backed me and for that I am very thankful to them. We might not realise it then, but as I look back now, it is the team that helps you become a better player.”
Calling back home to share this exciting news was one of the best things to do. “My parents were definitely happy but it is my job to stay focussed and grounded.
The season is long and it is important to maintain the same level of performance going forward,” explains Debo.
Having taken up the sport as an eight-year-old, Debopriya has always played as a goalkeeper at all levels. In fact, he decided to be a custodian after watching his maternal uncle, an amateur footballer, pull-off acrobatic saves under the bar, something that excited him. The youngster also credits his first Coaches Sapan Majumder and Dilip Pal (Bidhannagar Sports Academy) for their early contributions before moving to IFA Academy in Kolkata.
It was during his stint with the IFA Academy that he was spotted by the Pune FC Coaches at the 2014 Administrator’s Challenge Cup.
Even though his team was knocked out in the group stage, Debo stood out and soon joined Pune FC.
His impact was immediate as he helped Pune FC Under-17s to their first local triumph winning the Kunal Pillay Memorial 9-a-side tourney.
The youngster then shined again helping the team to an amazing 14-match unbeaten run as they finished fourth in the PDFA Super Division League.
An ardent fan of Spanish custodian David De Gea, Debo hopes that one day he can emulate his idol and ex-Pune FC custodian Subrata Paul’s achievements for the nation.