Blues travel to Kolkata for Durand Cup campaign

Young Blues’ Squad Arrive In City Of Joy With Naushad Moosa At The Helm; To Face Kerala Blasters On Wednesday

Bengaluru FC, on Sunday, announced their 22-man squad for the 2021 Durand Cup, which is underway in Kolkata. The 130th Edition of the tournament marks the Blues’ third appearance in the competition, with Bengaluru having made it to the semifinals once, losing out to Salgaocar on penalties in their debut campaign in 2014. The club’s most recent appearance came in the 2019 edition, where they finished second in their group. Naushad Moosa, assistant to Blues Head Coach Marco Pezzaiuoli, will step into the role of coach for the tournament, with Rajan Mani – who serves as assistant coach for the BFC Reserves – donning the same role for the Durand Cup.

The Bengaluru squad, a mix of first team players and Blue Colts, has as many as 10 players from the BFC B team who are yet to make their senior team bow. The squad also features two U18 players in Louis Macarton Nickson and Lalthangliana, as part of the club’s continuous player development philosophy.

“We’re looking at the Durand Cup as a fantastic chance for our young players to get exposure in competitive games, as the tournament has several good teams from the first and second divisions, as well as the teams from the army. Our young players are getting closer to the first team and maybe after this tournament, we could have more youngsters making a case for a spot in the starting eleven with the first team,” said Pezzaiuoli.

The Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Mohun Bagan Club Ground and the Kalyani Stadium are the three venues hosting matches during the Durand Cup, with the Blues grouped alongside Kerala Blasters, Indian Navy and Delhi FC in Group C.

Moosa, who competed as a player in as many as eleven Durand Cup campaigns, reached the final with Mahindra & Mahindra in 2000 before lifting the trophy with Mahindra United two years later.

Traditionally organised by the Indian Army, this year’s competition sees the Government of West Bengal as the joint hosts of the tournament. Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC, FC Goa, Mohammedan Sporting, Gokulam Kerala FC, Sudeva Delhi FC, FC Bengaluru United, Army Red, Army Green, Indian Air Force, CRPF and Assam Rifles, are the other teams taking part in the group stage of the competition, which began with four groups of four teams each.

The Blues begin their campaign with a clash against Kerala Blasters on September 15, at the VYBK.

Goalkeepers: Lara Sharma, Sharon Padattil

Defenders: Parag Shrivas, Robin Yadav, Harpreet Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Ajith Kumar, Wungngayam Muirang, Naorem Roshan Singh

Midfielders: Thoi Singh, Bekey Oram, Damaitphang Lyngdoh, Ajay Chhetri, Biswa Darjee, Macarton Louis Nickson

Forwards: Bidyashagar Singh, Leon Augustine, Akashdeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Namgyal Bhutia, Lalthangliana

Group Stage Fixtures

1) Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
September 15, 3 PM; Venue: Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan

2) Delhi FC vs Bengaluru FC
September 18, 3 PM; Venue: Mohun Bagan Ground

3) Bengaluru FC vs Indian Navy Football Team
September 21, 3 PM; Venue: Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan

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