Bengaluru FC announced a 28-member squad which will be part of the club’s first ever reserve side, known as Bengaluru FC ‘B’, for the 2017-18 season.
The squad, led by AFC Pro-License holder Naushad Moosa, is formed with a view of bridging the gap between the BFC Academy and the first team. Keeping the player pathway as the focal point of the Blues’ newest project, the management is committed on providing the best facilities at a professional level for up and coming Indian talent and has signed several young players for the season.
While two graduates, Leon Augustine and Prashanth Kalinga, from the inaugural batch of BFC’s Residential Academy in Bellary have been drafted into the squad, seven exciting players from the India U-19 set-up have also been signed. These youngsters, along with six other BFC Academy players who are part of BFC ‘B’, are eligible to represent the Blues in the U18 I-League.
Meanwhile, five players from the squad – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Robinson Khumukcham, Prashanth Kalinga and Leon Augustine – are part of the Blues squad for the ongoing AFC Cup 2017.
Club CTO Mandar Tamhane said, “When we started the BFC Residential academy, we also had plans for BFC ‘B’. With competitive action at the national stage only available till the Under-18 level, it’s very crucial for youngsters graduating out of the academy to get competitive action. At 18, not all players are ready for the intense demands of the first team, and so with the ‘B’ side we are trying to bridge that gap. It’s no different than our first team, and along with a few graduates from our academy, we have scouted for some talented young players from all over the country who do have the potential to progress through to our first team.”
Head Coach Naushad Moosa said, “It is very important to have a reserve side in a club. With Bengaluru FC ‘B’, there’s a platform for youngsters to improve their game while rubbing shoulders with the established stars and getting a ton of competitive action at the same time. We know this season is going to be a challenge for us, but the management has provided with a great structure.”
The squad, formed predominantly with Under-23 players, has been training over the last few weeks at the Bangalore Football Stadium, and will be playing in the 2nd Division League, conducted by the All India Football Federation, apart from the upcoming BDFA Bengaluru Super Division, and other all-India level tournaments.
Goalkeepers: Shainkhan Chilappuram, Aditya Patra, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Jaffer Mondal
Defenders: Asheer Akthar, B. Lalnuntluanga, Shahabaaz, Prashant Kalinga, Namgyal Bhutia, Amal Das KR, V. Lalengzama
Midfielders: Myron Mendes, Suman Sarkar, Kyntiewshaphrang Kharlukhi (Keke), Sk. Azaruddin, Robinson Khumukcham, Bidyananda Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Shelton Paul, Lalrinfela, Biswa Kumar Darjee, Leon Augustine, Naorem Roshan Singh
Forwards: Edmund Lalrindika, Parag Shrivas, Cletus Paul, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Kishori