'Bengaluru FC Aim to Win the Trophy,' Says Coach Albert Roca Ahead of ISL Debut
Federation Cup champions and two time I-League winners Bengaluru FC will be looking to scale yet another mountain when they begin their maiden campaign in the Indian Super League against Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.
File Image of Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri (C) celebrating with teammates. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Federation Cup champions and two time I-League winners Bengaluru FC will be looking to scale yet another mountain when they begin their maiden campaign in the Indian Super League against Mumbai City FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.
Considered to be one of the best football teams in the domestic circuit in India, the Albert Roca coached side has been the epitome of professionalism since their inception in 2013. Raising the bar higher with every passing season, BFC came out of nowhere and took Indian football by storm.
On Sunday night the Sunil Chhetri led team will begin their ISL campaign and aim to get the only piece of silverware in modern day Indian football which their trophy cabinet lacks.
“We are beginning a new journey, but our core aim is to succeed. We do not know too much about the teams we will face, but we must be ready. No excuses,” said Albert Roca while speaking to News18Sports ahead of their opening fixture.
“Our aim is to win the trophy, and continue to give our fans the joyous memories we have so regularly done in the last 4 years,” the coach adds.
The situation for Bengaluru FC is rather similar to 2013, since the team is new they could retain only a handful of players. That year they became the first team to win the I-League in their debut season, and in the Indian Super League their aim remains the same.
The former Barcelona man Roca though is quick to brush aside talk of his team being the favourites and says, “We can’t be considered the favourites just because we have done well in another league.”
“To rebuild the squad after having gone through the full season previously was definitely a big challenge for us, but in football sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders and move on. But the good thing is that the team is responding well so far,” Roca added.
Since the team was rebuilt Roca, who took over from Ashley Westwood in 2016, he has managed them to victory in the AFC Cup quarterfinals where they beat the North Korean side 4.25 SC and followed that up with a narrow 1-0 loss over two legs against FC Istikol in the semi-finals of the competition.
One of the first things Roca had achieved with this team was to make them first Indian club to ever make it to the final of a continental tournament in 2016 – they returned second best that year as Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya overpowered them in the summit clash.
“Both, the Indian boys and the foreigners have quickly adapted and while there still is a lot to work on, I’m happy with how far we have reached in a short time.”
Thanks to the forced reshuffle to his squad, Roca has lost a few important Indian players in the likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Amrinder Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and CK Vineeth to name a few. And they will come up against each of these players at various stages in the tournament.
“We expect some great duels when when we play our old boys.”
In fact in BFC’s opening game there will one such interesting face-off as Sunil Chhetri will be up against Mumbai City FC’s Amrinder. Co-incidentally, before Bengaluru decided to jump ship to the ISL, Chhetri was part of the Mumbai team.
Ahead of the match Roca pointed that he is likely to play the full quota of five foreigners, as Miku, Edu Garcia, Dimas Delgado join the likes of John Johnson and Erik Paartalu.
“It is about rolling out my best 11 on the day to get the job done and get three points,” he says.
The focus is unwavering in all parts of the camp, and even though the competition is far different from what was on offer at the I-League, Bengaluru FC are sticking to their simple but effective philosophy – be ambitious and aim high.
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