THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Bengaluru FC raring to get I-League season off to right start

Bengaluru FC

A little more than a seven-month long wait comes to end when Bengaluru FC travel to Goa to take on Salgaocar FC in their I-League 2015-16 opener at the Tilak Stadium, on Saturday.

Runners-up last season and Federation Cup champions, Bengaluru FC are keen to start their campaign on all the right notes and coach Ashley Westwood said his boys are keen to give a good account of their preparation.

“We’re really looking forward to the game. It seems like we’ve been waiting for this forever given we played our last competitive game on May 31st. We have had to encounter circumstances beyond our control with our boys away at the ISL and the national team. But all that said, we will be doing the best we can. The lads have prepared well and are hungry to be successful,” said Westwood on the eve of the game.

While Salgaocar are yet to beat Bengaluru FC in the League, much has changed for both teams over the summer in terms of acquisitions. Westwood has added as many as eight new faces to the squad that missed out on a second successive League title in heartbreaking fashion on the final game day.

North Korean striker Kim Song Yong has come in place of Sean Rooney with the additions of Alwyn George, Salam Ranjan Singh, Len Doungel and the three India under-19 boys in Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Nishu Kumar and Malsawmzuala. The Blues’ latest signing was the capture of India under-23 skipper and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.

Salgaocar, meanwhile, have had an overhaul themselves with Scottish coach Malcolm Thomson coming in place of Derrick Pereira who now handles the reigns at new entrants DSK Shivajians. The Goan club also made the most of Royal Wahingdoh’s pulling out from the League, snapping up the three Singhs – Jackichand, Seityasen and Reagan.

Westwood however chose to focus on what his boys will turn up with. “Salgaocar is a bit like most teams this season having shopped for new players – foreigners and Indian’s alike. They also have a new coach who has coached at different levels and leagues so we will be expecting an organised opponent. But at the end of it, it’s about what we do and not what they do. There are no guarantees in football but what we can be sure of is giving our best.”

In the foreigner department Salgaocar have roped in Cameroon-born striker Calvin Mbarga who also holds an Australian passport and Scottish Martin Scott. Darryl Duffy has been retained while the fourth slot is still vacant. The game kicks off at 19.05 IST.