Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Westwood: We want to put up a good show in the Asian level

Bengaluru FC couldn’t have asked for a better start. After winning I-League last season, they have recently won the Federation Cup. Only club from the Garden City after ITI (who won the inaugural edition back in 1977)!

Here’s an interesting trivia, other than losing out to Salgaokar in tie-breaker (after a goalless draw for 90‘+30‘minutes) in Durand Cup, they’ve lost only to Shillong Lajong in an away match in March last year. So two defeats in last 10 months.

They have a packed season ahead including AFC Champions league qualifiers. Coach Ashley Westwood feels his boys have worked on their fitness level in last 5 months, and conditioned well for a long season. “Other than Josh Walker, who picked up an injury in the Federation Cup finals, the rest of the team looks fine. They’re in great form, only hope to be consistent, and carry forward to the rest of the season”, says coach.  

Last season Ashley got a more compact team comprising of 14 core members. In this season until now, he has rotated with 18 players. 

BFC seems to bully India’s best football club for the past decade Dempo as they have defeated them in past 3 occasions, and meeting them again on coming Saturday, January 18. 

Owing to FIFA U-17 World Cup work, the blues will be moving out from their fortress Bangalore Football Stadium to much bigger Kanteerava Football Stadium. Also, that would mean moving on from artificial turf and playing in natural turf. 

In spite of being the I-League and Federation Cup champions, pressure doesn't deter him believes the gaffer, “There was pressure last year too - as a debutante, we started our season with a bang, 4 win and a draw in the first 5 games. Quite quickly the word was out that we’re a team to beat, and every team raised their game against us! 

Generally prioritizing games has been a challenge for the Indian clubs who qualify for Asian clubs, most of the time faltering in the Asian-level. However, coach takes match by match feels his priority is the next game, rather than prioritizing I-League or AFC cup.  

“We want to play well and defend our title and put up a good show in the Asian level”, the gaffer proudly signs off.