A week back, the 21-year-old Indian striker Ishan Pandita, who is currently plying his trade for Spanish Tercera division (third tier) side Lorca FC, had no interest from any Indian football club. The lack of interest in him, considering how he has risen through the ranks in Spanish football since 2016, was rather surprising.
However, it seems that the continuous effort of some media outlets, and that of people on social media as a whole, to put this talented youngster under the spotlight has finally paid off. According to a report in The Bridge, Kolkata giants East Bengal are in talks with Pandita to hire his services for the 2020/21 season.
East Bengal recently made headlines for signing Indian origin Iranian winger Omid Singh. So, if they manage to rope Pandita in, he will be their second Indian signing from foreign leagues for the upcoming season.
Pandita was born in Bengaluru but he moved to Spain afterwards and graduated from UD Almeria football academy. He made history on 5 October 2016, when he signed for Leganes U19 side and thus became the first Indian player to sign for a Juvenile A side, which is the topmost tier of youth football in Spain.
He impressed a lot in the youth ranks and went on to get an offer to play at the senior level for Lorca FC soon. Under coach Walter Pandiani, Pandita became a first team regular for the side. He played in 25 out of the 27 games and scored six goals for the club in this season before the coronavirus pandemic brought the sporting world to a standstill.
Such fine performances had made some Segunda Division (second tier) clubs interested in Pandita as well. However, he continued to remain out of the Indian scouting network’s radar until the pressure on Social Media forced them to notice this amazing talent.
Indian coach Igor Stimach has been quite vocal about how the influx of Indian origin players from foreign leagues could boost the quality of Indian football. Many players have been invited to national team trials during the past couple of years as well but that list doesn’t include Pandita’s name. However, that time doesn’t look far as well. Interest from Indian clubs is just a stepping stone for the youngster and a national team call-up will follow suit if he manages to perform in India.
Written by : Prasenjit Dey