For someone who has had a humble beginning in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu and come up the hard way – first with Indian Bank and then Dempo, Mahindra United, Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers – Dharmaraj Ravanan is now acknowledged as a top defender in the country with a talent for clean tackles and clearances. That he has played in all the matches thus far in FC Pune City’s campaign is another plus point for this slight-built defender. Head coach Franco Colomba’s confidence in Ravanan is total and he thinks highly of his pairing with Italy’s experienced Bruno Cirillo.
The 37-year-old Cirillo has been central in Pune’s tough defence. To Ravanan and others like Anupam Sarkar and Pritam Kotal, the Italian is a father figure. Indeed the Tamil Nadu player acknowledges that the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has been a learning experience through and through. He has been playing in the I-league for eight years now but the Hero ISL feels like something beyond even that. For one, he concedes the standards of players are higher and so merely watching them brings knowledge. This is why he has such high regard for Cirillo. Playing alongside footballers like them also makes “people like me believe that we can play easily and with no diffidence,” he said.
Ravanan also underscored the importance of good quality coaches. The Italian defence coach of Pune City Giovanni Mei, he said, had enough lessons for players like him. In this way, the nearly two months he has spent with Pune City has helped this ace defender pick up a few more tricks of the trade, something that he believes should stand him in good stead going ahead.
Having both captained Churchill Brothers and led the team to an I-league title last season, Ravanan has had some big moments in his career. His dream is to make it even bigger in the ISL. Having jumped to the fourth spot now and with two more matches to go, this ace defender will be hoping that he and his colleagues could reach the coveted final honours. But, it’s still early days yet.
For the moment, the hope is for Ravananto continue performing the way he has for the team so far.His energy levels and endless running should provide the ideal channel for the attack centeringaroundDudu,Kostas Katsouranis and the rest.