Good evening,

The long wait comes to an end and I couldn’t happier that we are finally waking up to a matchday. I am sure all of you feel the same way too. It has been a rather long and tough pre-season and going through it in a bubble makes it only harder. So, I’m glad that the competition has now commenced.

We play our first game against NorthEast United who were last year’s semifinalists. And while we will respect them and their strengths, we will be purely focusing on our team and what we have been training for.

I have often been asked in press conferences over the last few days about the style of football people can expect from Bengaluru this season. And all I will say is that we will play the kind of football that our supporters will enjoy. Every player on this team will give 110% every time we step on a pitch. But we also need to remember, this is a process. It’s not a switch you can simply walk in and flip. It will take time, but you will see the intent. Football is situation-based, and we have been training for all the different scenarios in a game.

We have a lot of new faces on the team this season and they have all fit in well. The foreign boys are making an effort to learn English and there’s a nice, positive vibe among the unit that is very visible. There are a lot of personalities and leaders on this team and everyone is willing to learn.

On the football front, I am very pleased with the way we have prepared for the season. You could see how with every passing game in the AFC Cup, we kept getting better. It was the same with the friendlies that we played. We need more games to hit the rhythm we want to achieve. We finished 7th on the table last season, but we are not a team that likes looking backwards. The aim is to make the semifinal this season and our players have the right mentality to achieve it.

Finally, it is a pity that we will not be playing in front of you fans. Some of the boys who have been on the team for a few years always come and tell me about the atmosphere at the Kanteerava and about how you transmit so much positive energy to the team on the pitch. We will have to wait a little longer to experience it. But till then, we will be carrying your support with us all the way here. Hope you enjoy the game.


02The Big

On The Touchline

Marco Pezzaiuoli watched the Blues play a few League games from the stands in Goa last season, before beginning his reign as Bengaluru FC coach with the AFC Cup. On Saturday, he takes charge of his first Indian Super League game. An evangelist of high-pressing and attacking football, Pezzaiuoli has made no bones about not caring where the goals come from, as long they come. Bengaluru finished an unfamiliar seventh last season, and Pezzaiuoli will look to fix that right from the outset. A squad with close to a dozen new additions means this will be a process, one that the boss and his players are keen to fasten.

In Khalid Jamil, the League has its first-ever Indian coach at the helm of a club. Taking over mid-season from Gerard Nus after a dismal run that saw NorthEast languish in the bottom half of the table last year, Jamil turned around the club’s fortunes with a string of impressive performances, good enough to make the semifinal where they were beaten by eventual champions, Mumbai. NorthEast have always been a stubborn team to break down and last season showed they can even add an attacking flair to their defensive resilience.

The Ins, The Outs and Those Who Have Stayed

The AFC Cup provided a glimpse of a Bengaluru FC that has brought in a host new faces. And there have only been more additions to the squad since then. Aside from defenders Alan Costa and Musavu King who made the continental trip to the Maldives, Marco Pezzaiuoli has signed Congolese striker Prince Ibara and midfielders Bruno Ramires (Brazil) and Iman Basafa (Iran). Striker Cleiton Silva is the only foreigner who has played a season of the Indian Super League, and he had a good one at that. With the new rule that allows a maximum of four foreigners on the pitch, time will tell how the Blues’ boss chooses to go about that decision.

It's a bit of a mixed bag for NorthEast United on the ins and outs with the squad this season. The Highlanders have managed to retain talismanic midfielder Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara and Deshorn Brown. However, they’ve also had key departures in Apuia Ralte, for whom Mumbai City FC paid a hefty transfer fee, and their top goal scorer from last season, Luis Machado. There’s also no Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot and Dylan Fox. Jamil has gone and shopped for striker Mathias Coureur, Hernan Santana and Australian centre-back Patrick Flottmann, with only Santana having ISL experience.

Clean Slate

All the chopping and changing within the squads makes this opener a difficult one to preview. The Blues played five friendlies in the build-up to the season and Pezzaiuoli spoke of how he was happy with the way his boys found their rhythm after what were a couple of slow and sluggish performances. Bengaluru had three draws to start the last season with and never really recovered. They would be keen to start quick off the blocks this time around. The Indian additions have been impressive if the AFC Cup and the pre-season games are to be used as a marker. Don’t be surprised if the younger graduates from the BFC Reserves play an important part from the beginning.



Lara Sharma
Sharon Padattil


Pratik Chaudhari
Alan Costa
Wungngayam Muirang
Sarthak Golui
Ajith Kumar
Parag Shrivas
Yrondu Musavu-King


Bruno Ramires
Jayesh Rane
Suresh Wangjam
Iman Basafa
Danish Farooq
Ajay Chhetri
Rohit Kumar
Ashique Kuruniyan
Namgyal Bhutia
Naorem Roshan Singh
Biswa Darjee
Damaitphang Lyngdoh
Akashdeep Singh


Prince Ibara
Sunil Chhetri
Harmanpreet Singh
Edmund Lalrindika
Udanta Singh
Cleiton Silva
Bidyashagar Singh
Leon Augustine
Sivasakthi Narayanan


6 Bruno Ramires

The Brazilian midfielder joins after a season with Belenenses SAD, who finished in 10th place in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, the top division of football in Portugal. Ramires, who is a powerhouse in the middle of the park, will look to keep things tidy at the back for Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men, who will be up against a quick NorthEast United attack.

10 Iman Basafa

A former member of the Iran U17, U20 and U23 National teams, Iman Basafa’s move to Bengaluru is his first away from Iran. The 29-year-old, a summer signing from Machine Sazi, is skilful on the ball and has the ability to pick a pocket and set the Blues up for a quick counter. Should Pezzaiuoli choose to start with Basafa, the Blues will need the number 10 to knit things together in midfield.

39 Sivasakthi Narayanan

A graduate from the club’s BFC B team, Sivasakthi top scored for the Blue Colts in the 2020-21 BDFA Super Division League, finding the net 15 times in just 9 games. The 20-year-old Karaikudi native made a quick impression for the Blues in their AFC Cup, scoring just ten minutes after coming on against Maziya S&RC. While places in the starting eleven may be far and few in between, young Sivasakthi remains a key option for the Blues should they need to switch things up in the final third.



Subhasish Roy
Mirsha Michu
Sanjiban Ghosh
Nikhil Deka


Patrick Flottman
Tondonba Singh
Provat Lakra
Gurjinder Kumar
Mohamed Irshad
Jestin George
Nabin Rabha
Mashoor Shereef


Khassa Camara
Imran Khan
Federico Gallego
Pragyan Medhi
Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha
Hernan Santana
Gani Nigam
Joe Zoherliana
Sehnaj Singh
Pragyan Gogoi


Suhair Vadakkepeedika
Laldanmawia Ralte
Mathias Coureur
Manvir Singh
Deshorn Brown
William Lalnunfela

Hello everyone,

I hope all of you and those around you, are healthy and happy. As I sit down to write this piece, I’m caught between emotions. There’s happiness because the season begins again. I love waking up, heading to training, battling it out with the boys and then doing the exact same thing the next day. And now, there will be games every week. This is what I live for.

The unfortunate part, however, is that for a second straight season, all of you will not be there in the stands. We missed you tremendously last year, and I was hoping with all my heart that fans would be allowed in the stands this time around. But it is what it is, and we’ve got to accept it. I speak for everyone on this team when I say we miss the energy the Kanteerava pushes out to the pitch on matchdays, and we’re going to have to wait a little longer before that happens again.

But here we are, at the start of a brand new season. The slate is clean and our approach is going to be fresh. We’ve made a fair number of additions to the team and they’re a bunch of very good lads – on the pitch and even outside of it. With every passing training session and time in the team hotel, we are getting to know each other better, and I believe that all this will translate to the way we go about our football. We want to do good things together.

On a personal front, it’s been a special month already for me. To be awarded the Khel Ratna is something I would never have fathomed when I started playing professionally. I play a team sport, and every personal award I win automatically belongs to those who have been with me on this journey. That includes all of you reading this. I couldn’t be more honest about this. It’s not something I am saying because it sounds good as part of an acceptance speech. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

In a few hours from now, we will take the field against NorthEast United, and we understand that it will be far from easy. What we need to do is stick to the plan the boss has handed out to us, get settled in as early as we can and give this game all we have from the first minute. This is a great bunch of boys and professionals and we are all eager and hungry to achieve success together.

I know you will be watching or tracking the game, wherever you are. And we will be doing everything to make sure that our season begins on the best possible note. Your messages are your voices, so keep at it. Like always, we will take you with us. It’s the season where we come together.

Your captain
Sunil Chhetri


Ibituruna, coffee and Parag – they all spell home for Cleiton

1: Where is home for you?

My home is Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil!

2: If you could bring one thing from home into the bio-bubble right now, what would it be and why?

This one is easy. I would bring my wife and kids because I miss them badly!

3: What’s the one smell that instantly takes you back home?

My neighbours had a coffee industry and everyday around 5 o’clock in the evening, they would burn the coffee so it’s definitely the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that takes me back home. I hear Bangalore too is all about coffee. So, I’m right at home, I guess.

4: You’ve played in some of the best grounds around the country and the world, but there’s nothing quite like scoring one barefoot in a mud ground back home, describe your first ever home ground to us…

When I was a kid, the first time I stepped into my first club in Brazil, the club from my city, the Esporte Clube Democrata, they have a corridor that leads you to the pitch. Walking through that corridor gave me butterflies in my stomach. Every time I step on a pitch – no matter where - I remember this moment and it makes me feel special.

5: If not for football, what were some of the fun games that you played back at home?

For us, football was always the main thing but in Brazil, we also have one game that is similar to cricket, we play with a stick and a can. We put the stick in front of the can and someone throws the ball and tries to hit the can, so you must hit the ball and run, it's very similar to cricket. It's called Pau Na Lata.

6: If you could walk out of the Bio-Bubble and go back home, before reaching home, where would you stop by?

Bangalore, definitely Bangalore, I still don’t know Bangalore yet. I’ve been to only one place in Bangalore and that was for dinner with a friend once and that’s about it.
In Brazil, I would have definitely stopped at my sports arena. I would definitely go there before I go home.

7: Do you have a local footballer from your town that you looked up to?

That would be my first manager, Fabio. We used to watch him play and were in awe of him. One day, he came up to us and trained with us. He looked at me and said, “Cleiton, one day I will bring you to play with me”, and he did! He’s my first hero.

8: If you could have your hometown idol come and watch you play live once, who would it be? Can be an actor, sportsperson, artist, anyone from back home…

My brother. I’d definitely want my brother there because my older brother believed in me a lot. He always gifted me many shoes and he always took me to play and because he believed in me so much, I’d want him in the stands. He’s not seen me play professionally live, only on TV. My mother, father, younger brother and first older brother all came to Thailand to watch me play but never my oldest brother because he stays in the USA.

9: Is there any player in the squad who reminds you of home the most?

Parag maybe, because he reminds me of my kids. He’s very funny. When I’m with him, I’m always laughing. It's always nice to be close to him.

10: Is there any song that takes you back to Brazil?

There is one Brazilian song that I really like, it’s called the Escolta de vagalumes. It's a country music song that always reminds me of home. I grew up on a farm, so whenever we woke up, we always had country music playing, the old songs from back in the 80s and 90s.

11: What’s your favourite food from back home?

Feijoada and Churrasco. Feijoada is beans with pork pieces and Churrasco is the Brazilian Barbeque.

12: What is the best part about your town back home?

In my hometown, we have a mountain called Ibituruna, and this mountain always has parasailing. I go there with my kids quite often and we sit and just enjoy watching people parasailing and this makes me feel at peace. It’s an amazing feeling.


Back in action -

the BFC Youth Development Program

With Competition Season Back Underway Across Our Youth Teams, The BFC Player Development Pathway Has Seen Quite A Few Promising Youngsters Climb The Rungs…

After a long hiatus that saw the Bengaluru FC Youth Teams train by themselves without competitive matches to look forward to, the 2021-22 season promises to be different and well-equipped to give the club’s Youth Development program much needed matches to make up on lost time and ground.

2021 Padukone Dravid CSE League

Action resumed for the Bengaluru FC Day Boarding Academy teams at the Padukone Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence, where the inaugural CSE League saw our BFC Soccer Schools Elite U12 and BFC Academy U12 sides participate.

2021-22 KSFA Youth Premier League

The KSFA Youth Premier League, which began earlier this month, has Bengaluru FC participating with as many as nine teams across four age groups. BFC Soccer Schools Elite Teams, Day Boarding Academy Teams and Residential Academy teams from Bellary are in action in the tournament, which is set to go on for four months.

The Baby Blues began with two losses and a draw in the first game-week but went on to record three wins in four games in week two. The KSFA YPL represents the first taste of competitive 11-a-side action for many players in the BFC Soccer Schools Elite teams, and will go a long way in preparing the young ones for the future.

2021-22 BDFA Super Division League

The Bengaluru FC B Team began their BDFA Super Division League campaign in late October, and drew 1-1 against Bangalore Dream United and Students Union in their first two fixtures. With the League now breaking for the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifiers, Sandesh Bhoite’s team, comprising several U18 players, will look to regroup and make a push for points when they face MEG&C on November 30th.

Hero Futsal Club Championship

Bengaluru FC’s first foray into Futsal saw Govardhan Gowda lead his team into competition at the inaugural edition of the Hero Futsal Club Championship, in New Delhi. Wins against Sporting Clube de Goa and Speed Force FC saw the young side enter the semifinal on head-to-head advantage, but the Blues bowed out to Mohammedan SC with a 2-0 loss in the semifinal.


Kindness costs nothing

Through The Course Of The Club’s 2021-22 Season, The Blues Will Look To Encourage Kindness, Create Avenues For Its Supporters To Be Kind, And Spread Stories Where Kindness Has Made The Difference…

At Bengaluru FC, we’ve always been about more than just the points and trophies. This season, like every season, we’re championing a cause. The COVID19 pandemic, through one wave and another, saw an unprecedented need for resources such as hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, concentrators and basic medicine.

While some chose to hoard essentials, fend for themselves, we saw strangers come together and help each other through what was, fundamentally, mankind’s biggest struggle in several generations.

Through our season campaign, titled ‘Keep It Kind’, we’re creating opportunities for you and everyone around you to continue keeping the kindness quotient high. By featuring organizations, people and acts of kindness, we’re looking to encourage kindness, and create avenues for people to be kind.

Ahead of World Education Day, the Blues featured Bangalore-based educational NGO Aarunya Foundation, urging the supporters to volunteer in remote-teaching or donate to one of Aarunya’s Partner institutions.

The club will also feature people who have made a difference through their acts of kindness, particularly during the pandemic. In a bid to raise awareness about the need to be kind and the warmth that it spreads, Bengaluru FC’s ‘Keep it Kind’ campaign will look to nurture the seeds of empathy that the pandemic planted, and grow them as we move into the future.