Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New-look Bengaluru face 4.25 SC challenge

Bengaluru FC Media

A new-look Bengaluru FC squad will have their task cut out when they come up against North Korean side 4.25 SC in the first leg of the Inter-Zonal semifinal of the 2017 AFC Cup at the Kanteerva Stadium today.

Taking field for their first game of the 2017-18 season, the Blues will aim to make the most of home advantage to get a positive result ahead of the second leg, which will be played in Pyongyang a fortnight later. However, the job at hand won’t be an easy one given the fact that squad has been completely overhauled only four weeks back.

“It’s never easy at the start of the season. We have a new-look squad and had just four weeks to prepare. But we’re eager to get into action and are looking forward to the game. We had a good pre-season trip to Spain and we’ve been working hard in Bengaluru as well. A bunch of players from last season are still with us and we hope to carry forward the same form from the group stage,” said Head Coach Albert Roca speaking on the eve of the big clash.

On the team news front, the Blues will be without the services of talismanic defender John Johnson, who is away for personal reasons, and Braulio Nobrega, who isn’t part of the squad. Meanwhile, the rest of the foreigners, along with Indian players are all fit and available for selection. “Johnson has been an important part of the club for the last four years, and we will definitely miss him. However, we’ve signed some good foreign players who bring in a lot of experience and will help us immensely in this competition. We’ve even included some deserving youngsters from our academy in the squad and they give us some great options in different positions,” added Roca while sharing his thoughts on the composition of the team.

Opponents 4.25 SC, who are making their debut appearance in the competition, topped Group-I (East Asia Zone) with two wins and as many draws in four games, ahead of fellow North Korean side Kigwancha SC thanks to better goal difference. While their attack will be spearheaded by tournament top-scorer Kim Yu-song who has netted nine goals, they’re pretty much an unknown opponent for Roca’s boys. “We know very little about our opponents, but we are at the business end of the competition and no matter which team we get drawn against, they won’t give us an easy game. We are focused on our strengths. 4.25 SC are definitely a good side considering that they are still unbeaten in the competition and we’re expecting a tough game,” said the coach.

The match kicks off at 7 pm and will be streamed live on the Facebook and YouTube channels of AFC Cup.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bengaluru sign Indian National Keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC have completed a major signing for the 2017-18 campaign, roping in Indian National team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from Norwegian side Stabaek FC for an undisclosed transfer amount, the club announced on Thursday.

While securing the services of India’s No.1 goalkeeper, the Blues have also completed the official paperwork in time for him to be part of the 2017 AFC Cup campaign. The lad from Chandigarh will be available for selection for the home leg of the crucial Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC on August 23.

Gurpreet who completed formalities on a one-year deal on Wednesday night, becomes the first Indian player to be signed from a European club by an Indian club in a move involving a transfer fee. 

The ’keeper, who arrived in Bengaluru on Thursday, was ecstatic ahead of the newest chapter in his career. “I’m extremely delighted to have signed for Bengaluru FC. While the experience of playing in Europe was fantastic, lack of game time was an important factor in making the decision of moving back to India. I had an offer from another top-flight club in Europe, but the need to play regularly ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 was something that was on my mind.”

“The fact that Bengaluru FC was interested in me was encouraging considering what they have achieved over the last few years. With BFC playing on the continental level this season as well as the next one will provide the perfect platform for me,” he added.

Club CEO Parth Jindal was pleased with the Blues’ latest acquisition. “It’s a matter of pride that Gurpreet has chosen to play for BFC. For us, he as big as an European signing. His presence and leadership will add immense stability to the team. While he is with us we will provide him with all the support he needs to be back among Europe’s elite.”

Having already played in front of the Blues’ faithful on a number of occasions while representing India, Gurpreet is eager to take the field at the Fortress. “The fans here are fantastic. The atmosphere we had at the Kanteerava was unbelievable and probably one of the best I’ve seen. I’m now excited to be playing in front of them on a regular basis and hope we can achieve something special.”

Turning pro in 2010 where he had a brief loan spell with AIFF’s developmental side Pailan Arrows (2010-11), Gurpreet returned to East Bengal, going on to become the first-choice custodian in the latter part of his three-year spell. At East Bengal, Gurpreet won the 2012 Federation Cup apart from topping the Calcutta Football League on numerous occasions.

Standing tall at 6’ 4”, Gurpreet moved to Europe as a 22-year-old, signing for Norwegian club Stabaek in August 2014 where he featured in a number of cup games, including the entire 2016 Cup run. He eventually made his League debut in May 2016 in an away match against IK Start, and in the process, became the first Indian footballer to play in a European top division league. In June 2016, the Punjabi lad put another feather in his cap, becoming the first Indian footballer to feature in a UEFA Europa League match by playing against Welsh side Connah's Quay Nomads FC in the competition’s qualifiers.

Having represented India (U19 & U22) numerous times at the youth level, Gurpreet was called up to the senior national team for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, and made his debut couple months later in the AFC Challenge Cup. After playing second fiddle to Subrata Paul, Gurpreet finally cemented his position as India’s number one during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers while even skippering the side on a few occasions.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bengaluru squad for 2017 AFC Cup knockout stage

Bengaluru FC Media 

Bengaluru FC, on Wednesday, announced their 25-man list for the 2017 AFC Cup knockout rounds as Albert Roca’s men prepare to take on North Korean side April 25 SC, at the Kanteerava Stadium, in a week's time. The new-look squad sees as many as fourteen new faces following the Indian Super League draft, and features two graduates from the Blues’ residential youth academy in Bellary.

Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu, along with Spaniards Toni Dovale and Dimas Delgado join defender Juanan Gonzalez to make up the Blues’ foreign contingent for the knockout rounds and Roca believes his side is ready for the task ahead.

“We’ve had very little time to prepare but the trip to Spain has been good exposure for the boys. We’ve tested ourselves against good opposition and this is the squad that we’ve been able to put together. We have a week more to prepare and I believe the boys will be ready for the challenge,” said Roca.

However, defensive mainstay John Johnson is set to miss the rest of the Blues’ 2017 AFC Cup campaign owing to personal commitments. The Englishman had joined the Blues for pre-season in Spain and though his absence in the 2017 AFC Cup will be a blow, Roca believes that his players will step up to the occasion.

“Johnson’s absence is a massive blow for us, but we are aware of his situation and it was the right decision to make for us to let him be at home. It is unfortunate for us, but his return for the club’s ISL campaign will be a boost,” he added.

The squad also features BFC academy graduates Leon Augustine and Prashanth Kalinga, who impressed Roca in pre-season with the club, as they took on FC Cartagena, UCAM Murcia CF and Baniyas Club.

The first leg of the Blues’ Inter Zonal semifinal against April 25 SC is set to kick off at the Kanteerava Stadium, on August 23rd with the return leg slated to played at the May Day Stadium, in Pyongyang, on September 13th.

FULL SQUAD 

Goalkeeper: Lalthuammawia Ralte, Abhra Mondal, Calvin Abhishek.

Defense: Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Zohmingliana Ralte, Collin Abranches, Joyner Lourenco, Juanan Gonzalez, Nishu Kumar, Prashanth Kalinga.

Midfield: Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Antonio Dovale, Boithang Haokip, Lenny Rodrigues, Alwyn George, Harmanjot Khabra, Malsawmzuala, Robinson Singh.

Forward: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Leon Augustine.




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Selection trials for B Division team MISAKA

Here's an Opportunity for the budding footballers. Misaka United will be conducting trials for BDFA B Division league for the 2017-18 season. 

Here are the details: 

  • Time: 8.30 am
  • Date: Aug 12, 2017 
  • Venue: Murphy Town ground, near Ulsoor bus stand/Ulsoor Metro Station 
  • Contact: 9482388786, 9480326268, 9448239863

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bengaluru sign Spanish striker Braulio Nóbrega

Bengaluru FC Media

Bengaluru FC announced the signing of experienced Spanish forward Braulio Nóbrega Rodríguez on a one-year deal, the club announced on Monday. The 31-year-old La Liga veteran becomes the fourth Spaniard at the club joining fellow countrymen Juanan Gonzalez, Dimas Delgado and Antonio Dovale.

The former Spain Under-20 international joins the Blues after netting an impressive ten goals in 15 league games along with two in the cup for Doxa Katokopias FC in the 2016-17 Cypriot First Division league while helping his side survive relegation.

Born in Puerto del Rosario on the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, Braulio, who came through the ranks at Atlético Madrid, turned professional in 2004 joining the reserve side of the Rojiblancos. He scored 17 goals in 26 games for the ‘B’ side while also playing frequently with the main team in the La Liga. During the second half of 2005-06 season, he joined fellow La Liga side Mallorca on loan before having another loan spell with UD Salamanca where he scored 14 times in the Segunda Division.

Braulio was then signed by La Liga side Getafe CF for the 2007-08 season where he not only featured regularly during the league campaign but even starred at the continental level scoring thrice in the UEFA Cup – the highlight being a fantastic back-heel goal against Tottenham Hotspur, along with a game-levelling strike past Oliver Kahn of Bayern Munich in the competition’s quarterfinal.

Thereafter, the striker had spells with a number of Spanish teams in Real Zaragoza (2008-11, La Liga & Segunda Division), Recreativo del Huelva (2010, 2014-15), FC Cartagena (2012, Segunda Division), Hércules CF (2012–13, Segunda Division), Caudal Deportivo (2016, Segunda 'B'), apart from stints with Malaysian Super League's Johor Darul Ta'zim (2013–14) and Greek Super League side AEL Kalloni F.C. (2015-16) before joining Doxa.

Braulio, who joined up with his teammates at the pre-season tour of Spain, was excited about his latest stint, “I’ve heard all I needed to about the club from the Spanish boys in the side and all I can say is that I’m thrilled to be part of it. I even heard a lot about the club when I was with Johor Darul Ta’zim.”

“I’ve already put in a couple of sessions with the team and I feel very comfortable. It feels like I’ve been training and playing with this bunch for a while now. I will be doing all I can to help the club achieve its goals,” he added further.

Bengaluru FC Head Coach Albert Roca welcomed Braulio to the Blues fold and said, “Braulio is an experienced player who fits into our style of play. He’ll provide the muscle up front and hopefully with the support that we have, he can contribute at the business end of the pitch.”