Indian Super League finalists Bengaluru FC are now up for the ‘challenge’ of the Super Cup 2018 as the Blues are gearing up to face ‘Giant-Killers’ Gokulam Kerala FC in the Round of 16 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar tomorrow, April 1.
Although their Spanish coach Albert Roca stated that his boys are ready for the challenge, he iterated that they’re not under any pressure.
“There isn’t much pressure, it’s a challenge. We’ve put a lot of energy into the ISL and we had a good season. It was a shame not to win the title, but I think we showed how strong and consistent we can be,” Roca said.
Meanwhile, he mentioned that after the Indian Super League silverware eluded them narrowly, it’s another chance to wrap up the season with a laurel and they’re up for the challenge.
“It’s always difficult to get back from a final and renew your hopes to win a title, but this is a big opportunity to win silverware and we’ll be doing our best out there.”
Meanwhile, his team had clinched the Federation Cup last season from Odisha and the coach vented that they would like to repeat the feat once again.
“We won the Federation Cup last time, so it’s on our mind to win this title again,” Roca added.
Nishu Kumar, the young agile defender who has been in the Bengaluru FC quite a while, chipped in as well, “As a player, you go into any tournament wanting to win. Every time we go out to the pitch, we want to make sure we do our best, and that’s the most important part.”
Meanwhile, the coach showed his concerns over a few players’ fitness but he brushed aside any ‘excuses’ before his boys hit the pitch tomorrow.
“The only way to succeed is to work hard and that’s what we’ll do. We had a lot of players who weren’t in their best shape after the final stages of the ISL, but we’ve recovered and we won’t be looking for excuses.”
Gokulam Kerala FC coach Bino George, on the other hand, cleared that their target was to qualify for the Super Cup final rounds and they’ve already achieved that.
“Our primary target was to qualify for the final rounds and we did that. Now, we are up against Bengaluru FC. We are aware of their credibility, but we are not getting into the shell before the final whistle blows,” the coach was brimming with confidence at the pre-match press conference.
“We have nothing to lose. We beat NorthEast United FC in the qualifiers and then only we knew who are we going to face in the next match. We are confident and we’ll show our game on the pitch tomorrow,” George added further.
Muhammed Rashid, the youngster from the Kerala-outfit went on to say that locking their horns with Bengaluru FC will provide them with added motivation to show their worth on the pitch.
“We all know about them and their past records. We are not getting intimidated at all. The match is going to be played on the pitch and we are ready for the tough tussle awaiting us tomorrow.”
The first match of tomorrow’s doubleheader will kick-off at 5pm and it’ll be telecast on Star Sports 2/2 HD/1 Tamil and streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.