Pune: Pune Football Club reinforced their backline by signing 22-year-old central defender Zohmingliana Ralte ahead of the 2012-13 season.
The Mizoram-based player joined Pune FC for a two-year period after playing out three seasons with north-east side Shillong Lajong FC.
Ralte, thus provides coach Derrick Perreira an additional option apart from already having Anas Edathodika, Chika Wali and Caitano Costa for the position. For the record, Ralte is the youngest central defender in the squad.
Pune FC Head Operations, Chirag Tanna confirms the signing saying, “We are happy to have Zohmingliana in our midst. His hard work caught our eye and moreover Pune FC needed a player in the position. I wish him all the best.”
The defender who flew into Pune on Saturday, in fact joined the team for a session at the gym.
Hailing from Aizawl (Mizoram), Ralte’s strong and sturdy self has always turned out to be a factor in making him an integral part of the first eleven of his previous club. Though young, he boasts of regular experience at the highest level and has two I-League seasons and three Fed Cup experiences under his belt.
In 2009-10, Ralte was a Federation Cup finalist in Guwahati. Interestingly, Pune FC was in the same group as Lajong FC. Subsequently, the defender was also a Federation Cup semi-finalist in 2011-12 where Lajong FC won the group in Pune, but lost to eventual champions Salgaocar SC, Goa.
Having played in the rival side against Pune FC, Ralte has featured in five encounters from the three seasons he turned up for the North-east side and played a major role in helping his side avoid defeats in those games. The five matches include - I-League and Fed Cup (2009-10), IFA Shield (2010-11), I-League (home and away) in 2011-12.
Ralte’s inclusion in Pune FC makes him the second Mizoram player after striker Jeje Lalpekhlua to be in the side for the 2012-13 season.
The defender’s signing thus takes Pune FC’s total squad strength to 26, with just the Asian player quota to be filled up.
Indian Sports News Network