India and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is confident that the 2018/19 Indian Super League (ISL) champions will be back with a bang in the upcoming edition after a seventh-place finish in the 2020/21 season — the first instance they didn’t make the semifinals since joining the league in 2017/18.
“ We have to turn around things, we have to make some changes and start all over again. That’s what the club has been trying to do. I’m very, very happy that whoever has come in so far is trying to help the club,” Gurpreet said on the latest episode of Football United.
But before the ISL gets underway later this year, Bengaluru FC, under new head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli, have to contend with their AFC Cup play-off tie against Club Eagles from the Maldives on August 15. In the event of a win, Bengaluru FC will join fellow ISL side ATK Mohun Bagan, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings and the Maldives’ Maziya Sports & Recreation in Group D (South Zone).
“It’s good to have pre-season start again, good to have new boys here. Finally, we are all together in a beautiful place like Bellary where we are right now and we are really looking forward to the AFC Cup. It’s one of the few chances that Indian clubs get in the continental competition and we want to make the nation proud and BFC fans as well,” Gurpreet said.
Since the disappointment of the 2020/21 ISL, Bengaluru FC have signed seven new players. They are, Danish Farooq, Jayesh Rane, Prince Ibara, Sarthak Golui, Alan Costa, Yrondu Musavu-King and Rohit Kumar.
“It’s brilliant to have such new faces, also familiar faces, people like Jayesh Rane and Rohit Kumar [So has Golui]. They have played in the Hero ISL before. These players will realise that whatever they have done in the past doesn’t matter here at Bengaluru FC. They have to start afresh and build their reputation,” Gurpreet said.
Gurpreet also spoke highly about coach Pezzaiuoli. The head coach guided the team to a 5-0 win against Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC in April early this year in what was also his first game in charge.
“It’s been phenomenal working with him so far. He is very demanding; he wants to play aggressive football, that’s very enjoyable.”