Bangalore Football has witnessed clubs from Iraq in the mid-70s in Stafford Challenge Cup. The Stafford Challenge Cup which started in the late-20s and continued till the late-80s, albeit irregular. Not to forget the Super Soccer Series, promoted by Tata Steel in the late-80s and early 90s which saw top-class football from PSV Eindhoven, VfL Bochum, FC Sao Paulo.
Competitive club game comes to Bangalore as namma Bengaluru FC (BFC) take on Maziya Sports & Recreation Club, Maldives in AFC Cup tomorrow, at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Maziya confirmed an AFC Cup slot this year after defeating Ceres De Salle FC, Philippines in a play-off. BFC was defeated in a closely contested AFC Champions League preliminary play-off tie against Johor Darul Ta’zim FC. Both the teams are placed in group E along with Persipura Jayapura (Indonesia) and Warriors FC (Singapore).
Maziya have been playing since January, Coach Ali Suzain reckons, “team is in good shape.” He adds, “BFC is definitely a good team with Captain Sunil Chhetri, foreign players, and en energetic coach. They’ve proved last year by winning I-League and Federation Cup early this year. We have to respect them but if we play in our way, we can do a lot.”
Maziya had played in AFC cup two years back, would that experience help them, “Maybe BFC have not played AFC Cup earlier as it is newly formed outfit, but mind it they have a good team. To me experience does not count. It is all about the players and coaches who are involved.”
The team comprises of countries top striker Assadhulla Abdulla (Captain), two foreign players from Europe and one from Japan.
Talking to the media persons, an Assadhulla Abdulla, captain of Maziya exuberantly said, “we are in good form, players are enjoying their stay in Bangalore, and ready to face the home team tomorrow.”
BFC gaffer Ashley Westwood is not reading much into last week’s away defeat against Mohun Bagan 1-4, “The score line would not probably give you the actual picture of the match. We had our momentary lapses, mostly due to individual mistake”, said gaffer.
Tomorrows match should mark the return of Rino Anto and Sean Rooney, both were out in the last could of I-League games owing to injury and central defender Curtis Osano.