Thursday, June 14, 2018

Carles Cuadrat is the Bengaluru coach for this season

Bengaluru FC Media

Spaniard Carles Cuadrat has been named the new coach of Bengaluru FC in a one-year deal that keeps him with the Blues till the end of the 2018-19 season, the club announced on Thursday. An assistant coach at the club for two seasons, Cuadrat takes over the baton from Albert Roca who bid farewell to Bengaluru earlier in May.

“We are thrilled at announcing Carles as our new head coach. Alongside Albert, he played a massive part in changing the way we played football. Given the long association the two have shared, it’s reassuring to know that our philosophy remains intact. Carles has been a popular figure in the dressing room and with the fans and we couldn’t have asked for a better choice as we make an important transition,” said club CEO, Parth Jindal.

Cuadrat’s second season with the Blues had to be cut short after a surgery on his knee forced him to resign and return to Spain in December.  And the 49-year-old said he was delighted to be able to come back in a new role at the club.

“I am very happy to come back to the club, to the fantastic people who work for it and to the fans who I have always had a special place for, in my heart. I am also grateful to the management for reposing such faith in me. What Albert achieved at the club is special and it won’t be easy to replicate. But I will be giving this opportunity everything I have, and I believe with the right amount of hard work and passion, we can keep achieving success at BFC.”

An academy graduate at FC Barcelona, Cuadrat had coaching stints with the age-group teams at the Catalan giants before traveling to Galatasaray with Roca as part of Frank Rijkaard’s staff. He then became assistant to Roca at the Saudi Arabia and El Salvador national teams before joining Bengaluru FC at the start of the 2016-17 season during which he won the Federation Cup with the Blues.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bengaluru sign defenders Gursimrat Gill, Sairuat Kima

Bengaluru FC Media 

Bengaluru FC have completed the signing of youngsters Sairuat Kima and Gursimrat Singh Gill on two-year deals till the end of the 2019-2020 season, the club announced on Monday. The duo join Kean Lewis and Rino Anto in the Blues’ camp as they continue to reinforce their squad ahead of the AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semifinal tie against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FK in August.

Twenty-one-year-old Gursimrat, who first joined Bengaluru in 2016-17 season from the AIFF Elite Academy, went on to feature in the I-League and the AFC Cup campaigns before being part of the Federation Cup winning squad in May 2017. The youngster was excited to rejoin the Blues after spending a season with NorthEast United.

“I'm really happy to have joined Bengaluru FC again. I was unlucky to be injured for most parts of my first stint at the club, but I'm glad that the club kept an eye on me and wanted to bring me back. I'm looking forward to joining the team and playing a part again,” said Gursimrat who made five appearances for the Highlanders in the ISL. 

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Sairuat who joins the club from Jamshedpur FC, began his youth career with Mizoram-based Chanmari FC before joining the DSK Shivajians youth setup in Pune. He was promoted to the first team during the 2016-17 season where the 6’3” tall defender featured in the Durand Cup and the Federation Cup apart from being a mainstay in defense in the I-League. The U23 India International was then snapped up by Jamshedpur in the ISL 2017-18 draft and featured for the Jharkhand-based side in the Super Cup.

“This is a big moment for me, and I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I’m excited to play for a professional club like Bengaluru FC, one that I’ve admired a lot. To go onto the next level, I must train regularly with the best players and BFC have the finest of the lot. Playing with them is something I’m eagerly looking forward to and hopefully I’ll give my everything and achieve success with the club in the coming years,” said Sairuat after completing formalities. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Rino returns to Bengaluru

Bengaluru FC Media

BFC, on Wednesday, announced that right-back Rino Anto has returned to the club, signing on a two-year-deal that will keep him in Bengaluru colours until the end of the 2019-2020 season. The 30-year-old, who made the switch to Kerala Blasters in the ISL draft at the start of the 2017-18 season, returns ahead of the Blues’ 2018 AFC Cup Inter-zone semi-final against Altyn Asyr FK.

“I’m glad to be back at this club where I made so many memories and I cannot wait to get on the pitch in a Bengaluru FC shirt once again. It’s never easy to be a part of a club where the level of competition is so high, but I’m ready for the challenge,” said Rino, who made 80 appearances in his first four seasons with the Blues.

Having won the I-League in his debut season with the club in 2014, Rino was part of the club’s squad that won the Federation Cup titles in 2015 and 2017, reclaimed the I-League title in 2016 and also played in the AFC Cup final of 2016, in Doha.

"We're very happy to have Rino back, he's been a star performer for us in our entire journey, including being a club captain. He's been a leader for us and has a very strong connect with the fans, who I'm sure will be equally excited to have him back. Rino is a national team player and we look to see him back there, representing club and country," said club COO, Mustafa Ghouse

Bengaluru take on Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FK in the first leg of their AFC Cup 2018 Inter-zone semi-final at the Kanteerava Stadium, on August 22.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Kean Lewis joins Bengaluru FC

Bengauru FC Media 

With a little more than two months before their AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semifinal clash against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr, Bengaluru FC have begun fortifying the squad, signing versatile winger Kean Lewis on a one-year deal, the club announced on Sunday.

Twenty-five-year-old Kean whose previous ISL stints include FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos trained at the Tata Football Academy for two seasons before heading to the United States of America to complete his education and pursue professional football. He joined the U23 team of MLS side Houston Dynamos before switching to NPSL side Laredo Heat.

“I am very excited on signing with Bengaluru FC. I’ve constantly heard of how the club is set up professionally on and off the pitch. The football aside, I’ve heard so many good things about the management and it’s nice to be able to turn out for a team that is keen on improving every aspect,” said the Mumbai-born player whose first professional stint in Indian football was with Mohun Bagan.

A versatile option in attack, Lewis has been preferred on the left side of the pitch for most of his career and he’s confident of settling in soon. “The squad has some very experienced players and this is a big opportunity for me to learn and get better. I’m looking forward to pre-season and I’m certain I won’t take much time to blend into the Bengaluru style of play,” he added. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Real Kashmir emerge champion to win ticket to I-League

AIFF Media

Real Kashmir FC secured promotion to the Hero I-League after clinching the 2017/18 Hero 2nd Division League title today evening.

David Robertson’s side only needed a point to win the title and promotion on the final day of the Hero 2nd Division League season, but the men from earth’s heaven produced a clinically efficient performance to blank Hindustan FC 3-2 at the FSV Arena in Bengaluru.

Real Kashmir scored through Ifham Tariq Mir (22′), Danish Farooq (42′) and Nadong Bhutia (67′) while Kushant Chauhan (34′ & 80′) was on target for Hindustan FC.

Hindustan FC started the match like a house on fire as they took the game to Real Kashmir. Hindustan FC created the first threat in the 17th minute when Nikhil Gehlot delivered a free-kick into the box, but Pawan Pratap Singh was unable to hit the target with his header.

That proved to be a costly miss as Real Kashmir took the lead five minutes later through Ifham, who collected a pass from Danish before calmly slotting past Mithun Samonto.

Hindustan FC then came close to levelling matters in the 28th minute when Loveday Enyinnaya lost possession inside the box, but Kushant’s shot went wide of the target.

Kushant, however, redeemed himself by scoring the equalizer in the 34th minute. The striker latched onto a loose ball in the box following a neat interchange of passing with Nikhil, to slot his shot into the top left-hand corner.

Nonetheless, Real Kashmir restored their lead three minutes before half-time when a swift counter-attacking move allowed Danish the easiest of tap-ins.

Real Kashmir had further chances to add to their tally in stoppage time, but they failed to do so as they first-half ended 2-1.

The second-half saw Real Kashmir on the ascendancy from the very beginning, and unlike the first-half where they sat back and allowed Hindustan FC to play, The Kashmir side opted for a more aggressive attacking game which made them more dangerous.

However, the first clear chance of the half would go Hindustan FC’s way as Kushant almost scored an identical goal as in the first when once again he was left unmarked in the box, to shot towards goal. Fortunately this time for Real Kashmir, keeper Sukhwinder Singh was well positioned to make a save.

Real Kashmir, on the other end, continued to dominate and create chances, the best of which saw Yao Kouassi Bernard put the ball just wide of the target 12 minutes after the restart.

Midway through the second-half Real Kashmir blew yet another opportunity when Danish put Ritwick Kumar Das in space in the penalty area, but the midfielder took too long to get a shot away and was closed down by Cheick Hamza Bamba. Ritwik looked threatening all evening and gave the Hindustan FC defence a torrid time.

Real Kashmir, thereafter, continued to run rings around their opponents and made it 3-1 in the 67th minute when Nadong, who came in as a substitute, scored from Ifham’s point-perfect pass.

Meanwhile, Hindustan FC, went all out in the final quarter and were also rewarded with a goal in the 80th-minute courtesy Kushant, but that was all they could manage as Real Kashmir thereafter managed to hold on to secure promotion in Hero I-League.