Here is a look at the Bengaluru FC squad ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League 2017-18 season.
The JSW Group-owned outfit was only founded in 2013 but already has enjoyed a trophy-laden four-year spell in the I-League but have now opted to join the ISL bandwagon. However, very few would bet against Bengaluru FC making an impression in their first season in the ISL, given that they stormed to the I-League title in their first season of existence in 2013-14.
Bengaluru’s attack also has a versatile feel to it, given the caliber and skill sets of the players involved. What is a real plus point of attack is the presence of two star Indian names in Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh. While Chhetri offers subtlety and class, Udanta offers raw pace and can be a game-changer from the wings. Offering some height and physical presence up front is Venezuelan striker Miku, who is 6’1″ tall and has a good goalscoring record of late, and former Atletico Madrid striker Braulio Nobrega.
On the wings, 27-year-old Spanish winger Edu Garcia also seems to be a promising option, having featured regularly for Zaragoza in the previous season and he can also play as a left-back.
Bidyananda Singh and left-back Subashish Bose look set for breakthrough campaigns. The 19-year-old Manipuri is a highly rated defensive midfielder who many see a star for the future.
One of the foremost strengths for Bengaluru FC is their goalkeeper. In managing to rope in Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as their first choice custodian, Roca’s team have a solid presence at the back.
Another huge advantageous factor for Bengaluru FC is that the team has already gelled well, having started pre-season well in advance due to their AFC Cup commitments.
One of the most noticeable weaknesses about Bengaluru FC is the lack of a reliable goalkeeping backup to India No.1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Though Gurpreet is an excellent choice between the sticks, Bengaluru’s alternative options do not really inspire confidence. Abhra Mondal and Lalthuammawia Ralte have not really seen much first-team action of late and are not known to be solid in goal. Roca will be left hoping Gurpreet stays fit throughout the tournament.
Roca’s issues in the I-League was his defense which shipped goals in crucial encounters. Englishman John Johnson and Juanan struggled at times, though the pair did have fitness issues at times. The gaffer and the fans will be hoping Juanan and Johnson are back to their imperious best this time around.
Overall, Bengaluru FChase a settled and balanced squad which has several game changers in it. They have the know-how and personnel to make an impact in their first ever season in the league. Will they win the trophy is a question that only time can answer. One thing is for sure, Bengaluru FC will be a force to be reckoned with this season!
Bengaluru FC Squad
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Abhra Mondal
Defenders: Rahul Bheke, Zohmingliana Ralte, Harmanjot Khabra, Collin Abranches, Juanan, John Johnson, Nishu Kumar, Subashish Bose, Joyner Lourenco
Midfielders: Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Edu Garcia, Toni Dovale, Lenny Rodrigues, Malsawmzuala, Boithang Haokip, Alwyn George, Robinson Singh, Bidyananda Singh
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Miku, Braulio Nobrega, Thongkhosiem Haokip
Bengaluru FC make their debut in the ISL against last year’s table toppers Mumbai CIty at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Nov 19.