Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bengaluru FC add experienced English flavor to team

Bengaluru FC press release 

I-League leaders bring aboard experienced sports performance and goalkeeping coaches in Malcolm Purchase (49) and Ali Uzunhasanoglu (53) till the end of the current season. The duo bring with them tremendous experience from England which will play a big role in Bengaluru FC’s already stellar debut season. 

While Purchase has been in the sports performance and nutrition field for the last three decades that include two decades with UK Athletics, Turkish Uzunhasanoglu has been coaching in the United Kingdom for the last twenty years. 

“I had a few offers in England, one of them from a Premier League club. But I gave Ashley (Westwood) my word and I wouldn't come here if I couldn't make a difference,” said Purchase who started out with Wrexham FC while his last club in England was Wolverhampton Wanderers. Purchase has been in Bangalore for the last six weeks and hasn't wasted time conducting new age tests on the boys along with bringing about a change in the dietary habits. “Everything used at Bengaluru FC is EPL standard. All the equipment for testing is up there with the best.” On asked what he makes of the players, Purchase says that he has worked on some imbalances things are only looking up. “We are still two or three levels away from where we want to on the fitness front,” he said.

Uzunhasanoglu, on the other hand, has spent 15 years as a player in Turkey before marriage took him to England where he had been coaching all the while. He began with Scarborough FC in the Third Division in the 1996-97 season and after stints at few more clubs, spent a the 2012-13 season with Preston North End FC before coming to Bengaluru FC. 

Among the many goalkeepers he has dealt with across divisions in English football, a notable student of Uzunhasanoglu is current Premier League side Norwich City’s goalkeeper John Ruddy. “I trained John when he was fifteen for three years at Cambridge United FC.” 

Like Purchase, Uzunhasanoglu too had worked with Westwood earlier and had no hesitation in accepting the chance to come to India. “I wanted to experience what coaching in India would be like and so I’m here.” Though barely a week-old with the team, Uzunhasanoglu is impressed with the work ethic of the goalkeepers. “They listen to instructions which is a very important aspect. I have to work on a few technical aspects with them and we will see what April brings. One thing is for sure, If I can’t help them, I will walk away,” he said.

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