A week before the kickoff of the Indian Super League (ISL) season 4, Bengaluru FC manager Albert Roca, skipper John Johnson and defender Nishu Kumar addressed the media at the ISL media day in Mumbai.
Alberto Roca spoke about his team’s preparation ahead of their debut season in the competition. He said, “We have started earlier for the ISL. For sure it was advantageous. We have to try hard by the time we have gotten. We had some injuries, the team is structured well. We can be stronger than last year in the I-League.”
On asked if the team will be under pressure in their debut campaign, Roca replied, “No pressure – it’s a challenge. We know the fans will be there for us, cheering. We have to be humble in the ISL. We are new, there are no excuses, the players want to start the competition.”
Bengaluru FC will kick off their season against Mumbai City FC on November 19th at Kanteerava Stadium. Speaking on opponents Mumbai, the gaffer said, “Mumbai are a strong team with experience. Their players can make the difference. They have a very good goalkeeper. For sure, they are a strong team to start against. We know the team will be ready.
“We are preparing for the games one after the other. Need to fight for the points. We need to be balanced. Not possible to win all games. Need to be strong.”
Roca spoke highly about opponent coach Alexandre Guimaraes. “He is a great coach. He did a good job last time. His team play with style and attack. They focus on ball play and managing the game. We know it’ll be difficult for us,” said Roca.
He also mentioned that Bengaluru FC’s aim at the first stage will be to reach the semifinals.
Captain John Johnson who has been part of the team from the very first season was asked about the key to BFC’s success. Johnson said, “Hard work, organization that the team have brought into Indian football. Playing with someone for a long time gives us a bond. It’s a positive for me that my team knows me and vice-versa. We’ve become great friends in the team and some outside the team – that’ll be weird. So let’s see what happens.”
John further added, “The Biggest game for us is against Kerala Blasters. The place will be bouncing on New Year’s Eve with enthusiastic fans. It is a big game for us."
Defender Nishu Kumar spoke about it was a dream for him to represent Bengaluru FC in the ISL. “ I didn't expect the opp to play for BFC in the ISL. It was a dream, but that has turned into reality and it’s amazing,” said the youngster.
He added, “Udanta gives me advice alongside Sunil. Chhetri always motivates us, particularly me, on eating habits and always motivates people.”