Pune nostalgia grips Tebar and Narayan ahead of Odisha-ATK clash
After four successive away games, Odisha FC will finally play their first home match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 when they go toe-to-toe against ATK on Sunday. The match, however, will not be played in their permanent home at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, but will instead be held at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune. The stadium and the city will serve as the temporary home for Josep Gombau’s men for three matches.
While Pune may not quite be their officially designated home, Odisha FC captain Marcos Tebar and defender Narayan Das - two players very familiar with the city and its passionate fans - are confident that the fans in Pune will welcome Odisha FC with open arms.
Tebar was a central figure in the now-defunct FC Pune City’s run to the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2017-18 season. The Spaniard played 17 matches that term, scoring one goal and assisting a further two. Remembering his time in the city, the 33-year-old said, “The feeling (to be back here) is great. I spent six months here when I played for FC Pune City and that was a good experience.”
“We also got the playoff spot. The supporters also came to the stadium and I hope they will come to support us now when Odisha plays here. The fans here in Pune are very passionate about football,” the Spaniard added, urging the fans to come out in numbers to back Odisha against ATK.
Narayan Das, likewise, was a member of the Stallions squad during Hero ISL 2016 and turned out 16 times for them. The 26-year-old fullback recalled his fond memories of the city and stated, “It’s a very good feeling for me to come back here. I would like to urge the supporters to come in big numbers.”
It’s a Sunday as well and that is good for us as the people here will come to watch us play. We will play three home games here and are hopeful that we will get maximum points," he added.