Category: Indian Super League

Bengaluru FC sign India’s no.1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Bengaluru FC have completed a major signing for the 2017-18 campaign, roping in Indian National team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from Norwegian side Stabaek FC for an undisclosed transfer amount, the club announced on Thursday.

While securing the services of India’s No.1 goalkeeper, the Blues have also completed the official paperwork in time for him to be part of the 2017 AFC Cup campaign. The lad from Chandigarh will be available for selection for the home leg of the crucial Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC on August 23.

Gurpreet who completed formalities on a one-year deal on Wednesday night, becomes the first Indian player to be signed from a European club by an Indian club in a move involving a transfer fee.
The ’keeper, who arrived in Bengaluru on Thursday, was ecstatic ahead of the newest chapter in his career. “I’m extremely delighted to have signed for Bengaluru FC. While the experience of playing in Europe was fantastic, lack of game time was an important factor in making the decision of moving back to India. I had an offer from another top-flight club in Europe, but the need to play regularly ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 was something that was on my mind.”

“The fact that Bengaluru FC was interested in me was encouraging considering what they have achieved over the last few years. With BFC playing on the continental level this season as well as the next one will provide the perfect platform for me,” he added.

Club CEO Parth Jindal was pleased with the Blues’ latest acquisition. “It’s a matter of pride that Gurpreet has chosen to play for BFC. For us, he as big as an European signing. His presence and leadership will add immense stability to the team. While he is with us we will provide him with all the support he needs to be back among Europe’s elite.”

Having already played in front of the Blues’ faithful on a number of occasions while representing India, Gurpreet is eager to take the field at the Fortress. “The fans here are fantastic. The atmosphere we had at the Kanteerava was unbelievable and probably one of the best I’ve seen. I’m now excited to be playing in front of them on a regular basis and hope we can achieve something special.”

Turning pro in 2010 where he had a brief loan spell with AIFF’s developmental side Pailan Arrows (2010-11), Gurpreet returned to East Bengal, going on to become the first-choice custodian in the latter part of his three-year spell. At East Bengal, Gurpreet won the 2012 Federation Cup apart from topping the Calcutta Football League on numerous occasions.

Standing tall at 6’ 4”, Gurpreet moved to Europe as a 22-year-old, signing for Norwegian club Stabaek in August 2014 where he featured in a number of cup games, including the entire 2016 Cup run. He eventually made his League debut in May 2016 in an away match against IK Start, and in the process, became the first Indian footballer to play in a European top division league. In June 2016, the Punjabi lad put another feather in his cap, becoming the first Indian footballer to feature in a UEFA Europa League match by playing against Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads FC in the competition’s qualifiers.

Having represented India (U19 & U22) numerous times at the youth level, Gurpreet was called up to the senior national team for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, and made his debut couple months later in the AFC Challenge Cup. After playing second fiddle to Subrata Paul, Gurpreet finally cemented his position as India’s number one during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers while even skippering the side on a few occasionn.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu leaves his Norwegian club Stabæk, will come to india

As per reports in Norwegian website www.budstikka.no, Indian star Goalkeeper has left Stabæk. It also added that he is leaving the club as he is not getting proper playing time with the club.

 

Report translate in English:

At the same time it is clear that Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu leaves Stabæk. The Indian has struggled with playing time since joining Stabæk in 2014, leaving the club for the benefit of Indian football.
Singh has been a good person to have in the club, and has developed a lot in time in Stabæk. Now he has made a club change which I think will be good for him, “said Ordinas, the goalkeeper who had a contract with Stabæk in the season.

In one tweet Sports journalist Jonas Giæver from Oslo, Norway  claims that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will return to India.

 

 

Bengaluru FC sign Spanish striker Braulio Nóbrega

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC announced the signing of experienced Spanish forward Braulio Nóbrega Rodríguez on a one-year deal, the club announced on Monday. The 31-year-old La Liga veteran becomes the fourth Spaniard at the club joining fellow countrymen Juanan Gonzalez, Dimas Delgado and Antonio Dovale.

The former Spain Under-20 international joins the Blues after netting an impressive ten goals in 15 league games along with two in the cup for Doxa Katokopias FC in the 2016-17 Cypriot First Division league while helping his side survive relegation.

Born in Puerto del Rosario on the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, Braulio, who came through the ranks at Atlético Madrid, turned professional in 2004 joining the reserve side of the Rojiblancos. He scored 17 goals in 26 games for the ‘B’ side while also playing frequently with the main team in the La Liga. During the second half of 2005-06 season, he joined fellow La Liga side Mallorca on loan before having another loan spell with UD Salamanca where he scored 14 times in the Segunda Division.

Braulio was then signed by La Liga side Getafe CF for the 2007-08 season where he not only featured regularly during the league campaign but even starred at the continental level scoring thrice in the UEFA Cup – the highlight being a fantastic back-heel goal against Tottenham Hotspur, along with a game-levelling strike past Oliver Kahn of Bayern Munich in the competition’s quarterfinal.

Thereafter, the striker had spells with a number of Spanish teams in Real Zaragoza (2008-11, La Liga & Segunda Division), Recreativo del Huelva (2010, 2014-15), FC Cartagena (2012, Segunda Division), Hércules CF (2012–13, Segunda Division), Caudal Deportivo (2016, Segunda ‘B’), apart from stints with Malaysian Super League’s Johor Darul Ta’zim (2013–14) and Greek Super League side AEL Kalloni F.C. (2015-16) before joining Doxa.

Braulio, who joined up with his teammates at the pre-season tour of Spain, was excited about his latest stint, “I’ve heard all I needed to about the club from the Spanish boys in the side and all I can say is that I’m thrilled to be part of it. I even heard a lot about the club when I was with Johor Darul Ta’zim.”

“I’ve already put in a couple of sessions with the team and I feel very comfortable. It feels like I’ve been training and playing with this bunch for a while now. I will be doing all I can to help the club achieve its goals,” he added further.

Bengaluru FC Head Coach Albert Roca welcomed Braulio to the Blues fold and said, “Braulio is an experienced player who fits into our style of play. He’ll provide the muscle up front and hopefully with the support that we have, he can contribute at the business end of the pitch.”

Bidyananda, Robinson sign with Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru: Federation Cup champions Bengaluru Football Club, on Monday, announced the signings of midfielders Bidyananda Singh and Robinson Singh on two year contracts. While Bidyananda joins from ISL side Atletico De Kolkata, Robinson Singh joins the Blues from Mohun Bagan.

A defensive midfielder who progressed through the AIFF Academy ranks, Bidyananda joins the Blues after having represented India at the U13, U14, U15, U16 and U17 sides. The 19-year-old faced the Blues while playing for the AIFF U19s in a friendly in Bengaluru in 2015, a match in which he found the net.

“Bengaluru FC are the best in India and it is a big moment for me to sign for a club that wins trophies and competes with the best in Asia every season. I’m happy to get this opportunity and I’m looking forward to making the most of it,” said Bidyananda following the move.

Robinson, meanwhile, joins the Blues having represented Mohun Bagan for the last two seasons. The 20-year-old has also represented India at the U16, U17 and U19 levels. He was also part of the India team that took part in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Doha, earlier in July.

“I’ve always believed that a move to BFC would be the best path for my career. In terms of the coaching, the professionalism and every aspect of football, this is the right place to be for any young footballer. This move is one that I’ve been working hard for, for a long time,” said Robinson.

Bengaluru FC kick-off pre-season; fans welcome new-look squad at BFS

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC kicked off their 2017-18 pre-season with an open training session at the Bengaluru Football Stadium on Wednesday in front of the Blues’ faithful who turned out in numbers to vociferously cheer their heroes on.

With the AFC Cup Inter-zonal Semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC fast approaching, the Blues wasted no time in starting off their pre-season training in the city three days post the ISL Draft.

Speaking on the sidelines of the season’s first ever training session, Head Coach Albert Roca was delighted to be back in action. “We’re happy to be back on the field. Our target is to build on last season’s progress as we move into a new chapter in the club’s history. But before our domestic season begins, we’ve got big matches coming up fast in the AFC Cup. We don’t want to waste any time and prepare the best way possible for the first leg at home. The Spain tour will also help us massively as it gives us a good opportunity to gel as a squad,” he said.

The day at the BFS began with an introductory meeting between the new players and the staff, both technical and non-technical as the club welcomed its new signings into the fold. Albert Roca and co. then quickly briefed the players about their expectations for the tough season ahead while encouraging them to train at the highest level always.

Club captain Sunil Chhetri said he was confident of the task ahead despite the reshuffle in the squad. “Things will get tougher from here given we have only just assembled a squad. But we’ve got a really good set of players that I’m confident will turn into a unit with time. There’s a nice blend of experience and youth and it’s going to be an exciting season ahead.”

On the field, it was all about sessions in endurance training which was overlooked by the entire coaching staff. The idea was to assess the players’ physical condition before the day was rounded off with a core session. The players and staff then interacted with the fans before posing for selfies and signing autographs.

AFC Competitions Committee’s decision published regarding ISL and I-League

Following a recommendation from the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the Competitions Committee gave special dispensation for the Indian Super League (ISL) which will be played simultaneously with the I-League for six or seven months in 2017 and 2018 as a temporary short-term ‘bridging solution’.

AIFF’s recommendation to the AFC was that the ISL will replace the Federation Cup, whose winner is currently allocated an AFC Champions League Play-Off place AFC  Cup preliminary stage place.

Therefore, the Committee approved that the I-League champions will play in the AFC Champions League Play-off round and the ISL Champions will play in the AFC Cup preliminary stage – as long as all clubs adhere to the AFC rules and regulations, particularly club licensing, from 2018.

The situation will be reviewed on a yearly basis with conditions which, in addition to adherence to club licensing regulations, include promotion, production, a player allocation system and the following of the Road Map agreed between the AFC and Indian football stakeholders at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on June 7, 2017.

Bengaluru FC to train in Spain ahead of AFC Cup clash

Bengaluru: A new-look Bengaluru FC side will kick off their pre-season training this week in the city before heading to Spain early next month for a 10-day training camp. The Blues will train at the state-of-the-art facilities at Pinatar Arena in Murcia during their stay in the Mediterranean region. Having finalized their squad on Sunday at the ISL Draft, Bengaluru FC Head Coach Albert Roca will now have an eye on the crucial AFC Cup Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC as he prepares his squad for the first leg at home onAugust 23.

“The facilities at Pinatar Arena are top-class and I thank the management for providing us with this opportunity. The arena will provide us with everything we need to get up and running as fast as possible. Among all the other ISL teams, we’ll be in action first in the AFC Cup and it’s important that we utilize this time well so that our team settles in quickly. While we have managed to retain the core of our team, there are a lot of new signings which means that we need to put in that extra effort in pre-season to gel as a unit,” explained Roca.

During their stay, the Blues are set to face Spanish Segunda-B Division side UCAM Murcia CF (August 9) and 2016-17 UAE Pro League side Baniyas S&R(August 15) in friendly games.

The Blues base – the Pinatar Arena – boasts of six natural grass (Bermuda and ray grass) floodlit football pitches at FIFA standards with special areas designated for goalkeepers and a stadium with a capacity of 3,500 spectators that hosts friendlies and tournaments. The Arena also has top-class fitness centers with all the latest equipment from health and fitness innovators.

While the facility recently hosted an U21 tournament between national teams of Australia, Austria, Finland and Netherlands, they have regularly hosted training camps of top-flight clubs from all over Europe. A few of them include, German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund and FC Kaiserslautern, Spanish sides Levante UD and UD Almeria, Russian powerhouses CSKA Moscow and FC Zenit apart from Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea), FC Twente (Netherlands), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).

This will be the second time the Blues travel abroad for a pre-season training camp having earlier visited China at the start of the 2014-15 season. Back then, the Blues faced off against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Guangzhou R&F FC (0-3) from the Chinese Super League and Hong Kong Premier League’s Eastern AA (0-2).

The 23-man team departs from India on August 5th and is scheduled to return on August 16th.

Blues retain five, sign eight new players at ISL Draft

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC went about their business smartly at their first ever Hero Indian Super League draft retaining five players from last season while strengthening their squad further by adding eight more Indian players, in Mumbai on Sunday.

First pick and fan-favourite goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte was joined by Harmanjot Khabra, Lenny Rodrigues, Alwyn George and local-boy Calvin Abhishek among the players who will continue to be part of the squad. These players, along with the existing retentions in Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, John Johnson, Juanan, Nishu Kumar, Malsawmzuala and Daniel Lalhlimpuia, will boost the squad ahead of the AFC Cup Inter-Zonal Semifinal against North Korean side April 4.25 SC in a month’s time from now.

Joining them will be seasoned professionals in goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, midfielder Boithang Haokip and defenders Rahul Bheke and Zohmingliana Ralte, along with exciting youngsters Joyner Lourenco, Collin Abranches, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Subhasish Bose.

Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC Head Coach, was content with the draft and the luck factor that goes with it, “We cannot have all the players we want. Eugeneson, Rino and Chhuantea have been important players for the club, but we knew it was impossible for us to get all our choices. However, we are happy with our picks and who we’ve signed so far. The circumstances of a draft mean that some players have to go and we’ve tried to keep as many players as possible. We looked at players who are compatible with our team, because we have important games in the AFC Cup coming up fast.”

While new signings Abhra Mondal and Boithang Haokip bring in loads of experience, the likes of Rahul Bheke and Zohmingliana Ralte were few of the stand-out performers in Indian football over the last few seasons. Rahul has created a name for himself on the domestic circuit with consistent performances for Air India, Mumbai FC, East Bengal, Kerala Blasters and FC Pune City over the last six seasons. Meanwhile, Zohmingliana, an ex-Pune FC and DSK Shivajians player, was an ever-present figure in Aizawl FC’s fairy-tale run to the I-League title. In fact, Aizawl were second only to Mohun Bagan when it came to conceding goals as they romped to the title with Zohmingliana scoring a decisive goal against the Kolkata club in the penultimate game of the season.

Bengaluru FC continued their tradition of keeping faith in youth by snapping up striker Thongkhosiem Haokip and left-back Subhasish Bose. Twenty-four-year-old Haokip was the highest scoring Indian player in the 2014-15 I-League netting seven goals throughout the season while at Pune FC. He then had stints with Salgaocar FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters and East Bengal.

Twenty-one-year-old Subhasish, on the other hand, had a breakthrough season at Churchill Brothers, before becoming a defensive mainstay for Sporting Goa in 2016 which prompted Mohun Bagan to sign the talented youngster. His impressive performances with the Kolkata-side even caught the eye of National Team Coach Stephen Constantine who called him up to the National Team camp, while also being part of the Indian U-23 team for the AFC Championship Qualifiers 2017.

BFC Full Squad: http://www.sportsindialive.com/football/indian-super-league-2017-18-players/

 

Bengaluru FC retain Nishu, Zuala for ISL; Daniel for AFC Cup

Bengaluru: Continuing the rebuild of their squad for the upcoming season, Bengaluru FC have retained two of the most promising youngsters in Indian football in midfielder Malsawmzuala and defender Nishu Kumar, keeping them at the club till the end of the 2017-18 season. The duo make grade for the ‘under-21 uncapped players’ slot for the Indian Super League.

Meanwhile, Indian International striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia continues to remain part of the squad and will feature in the Blues’ AFC Cup campaign. While the Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side 4.25 SC is up next in the 2017 AFC Cup for runners-up Bengaluru FC, they will also be playing in the 2018 edition of the competition having sealed qualification courtesy the Federation Cup triumph in May.

The trio who signed for Bengaluru FC from AIFF’s Elite Academy in November 2015 have gone on play crucial roles over the last two seasons as the Blues increased their focus on youth. They combined for a total of 30 appearances in the last edition of the I-League.

Muzzafarnagar-born Nishu Kumar had a breakthrough season with the highlight being a goal against Bangladeshi-side Abahani Dhaka in the AFC Cup. The youngster’s impressive performances also caught the eye of the Indian Coach Stephen Constantine who called him up to the national team as he was voted the Blues’ Most Improved Player of 2016-17 season.

“I’m very happy to continue with Bengaluru FC. It was an easy decision for me. The amount of trust the management and the coaching staff has shown in me means a lot. The last two years were fantastic as we achieved some incredible things and we would like to do something similar as we enter a new phase in our club’s history,” said a delighted Nishu after completing the formalities.

Joining him will be Mizo duo of Malsawmzuala, who was voted the Blues’ Most Improved Player of 2015-16 season, and Daniel Lalhlimpuia who has been capped at the senior level for India. The latter who has featured frequently in the starting line-up this season will play an important part in the club’s campaign in Asia.

“We are at a very crucial junction in the AFC Cup and I am looking forward to playing my part. I’ve spent two years here learning and the coach has shown faith in me and I’m looking to continue doing that,” said Daniel, who has been retained for the AFC Cup.

“These boys have been an important part of our team for the last two seasons and we’re delighted to have them with us as we head into a new chapter in our Club’s history. Considering the rules of the ISL, we could only retain Nishu and Malsawmzuala for the league, given that Daniel has become a full India International. But we don’t want to lose him out as he forms a vital part of our plans. His contribution will be immense in not just this year’s AFC Cup campaign, but the one in the following year as well,” said Albert Roca, Bengaluru FC Head Coach.

Daniel and Nishu are currently in Qatar after being named in India’s Under-23 team for the AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifiers.

NEUFC launches own Residential Youth Academy to tap talent in the eight states of the region

Superstar John Abraham’s popular football club, the NorthEast United FC (NEUFC), took its first major step towards nurturing footballing talent across the eight states of North-East India by launching its own Residential Youth Academy.

The Centre of Excellence (CoE), as it has been baptized, will operate out of Shillong and offer the handpicked kids the best in terms of training, education and competition throughout the year.

“This is a dream come true,” John Abraham said while making the announcement. “When I bid for the team three years ago my first goal was to start a residential academy for the talented kids out there. We will all do everything in our power to provide every talented child the opportunity to learn and eventually play for the NEUFC first team,” he added.

The ambitious plan fell into place after NEUFC joined hands with Shillong United FC, formerly known as Royal Wahingdoh FC, to develop the region into a footballing power centre.

“We are delighted to start this developmental project with NEUFC,” Dominic Tariang, owner of Shillong United and Partner-Youth Development, stated. 

“We have already charted a well-defined and competitive pathway for the fantastic talent pool of the North-East. We want to showcase all this on the biggest footballing stage in India,” John added.

Dominic Tariang thanked John Abraham and the NEUFC for being such strong believers in the football potential of the North-East. “Our partnership creates synergies that will benefit the footballing environment of not just Shillong but all other parts of the region,” he added.

“We have found a great partner in Dominic and Shillong United and we share our passion and love for football in the North-East,” John supplemented. 

The two clubs will diligently pick the best students for the CoE and not only provide them training and education but also competition throughout the year. Shillong United already has a solid base in the capital and will give the chosen ones opportunities to play and enhance their skills in the Shillong State League and other competitions.

The CoE will create teams in the Under-13, the Under-15 and Under-18 categories so that the NEUFC has an abundance of young talent to choose from in the near future.