I-League: Bengaluru FC hope to get it right with Roby Norales

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The Blues hope the Honduran centre-forward does justice to his position and fills a void they have been endowed with since their founding…

Bengaluru FC have achieved it all in the last three seasons. They won the I-League twice, Federation Cup once and even managed to reach the Asian football Confederation's (AFC) Cup final, a first for any Indian club. 

They have a top coach in Albert Roca, who has coached some of the best in the business alongside assistant Carles Cuadrat. The JSW-owned outfit have further strengthened their squad by roping in Sandesh Jhingan, who is arguably the best Indian defender by far, in addition to having John Johnson and Juanan. 

They have a midfield capable of churning over their opponents at will, with the redolently creative Eugeneson Lyngdoh and the gleaned workmanship of Cameron Watson, their Australian foreigner. They have Sunil Chhetri, India's captain and a dynamic number 11, at their disposal as well. 

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However, an area in which they haven’t managed to yield the best out of has been that of a foreign striker.

Turn back the pages of recruitment and we see that they had recruited the ilk of Sean Rooney for the first two seasons followed by Kim Song-Yong. The Korean is now at DSK Shivajians, a fellow I-League club.

Rooney, an Australian, scored 10 goals in the 2013-14 season when Bengaluru FC went on to clinch the title in their very first I-League campaign. It was a dream season for the Blues but despite the fact that the rest of the clubs struggled with their foreign signings, Darryl Duffy, Cornell Glen, Josimar, Ranti Martins and Boimah Karpeh had scored more goals than Rooney.

The season after, the former Salgaocar FC striker was woeful to say the least. He notched up a paltry four goals from 17 appearances in the I-League. Compare that to Ranti Martins who scored 17 or Glen with 16.

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The club parted ways with Rooney, understandably so, and roped in Song-Yong from Royal Wahingdoh. The DPR Korean striker notched up five goals and was the joint top scorer for Bengaluru FC alongside Sunil Chhetri. When your club’s top scorer has scored five goals, you have got every reason to be concerned and it wasn’t surprising that the player’s contract wasn’t renewed.

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This time around, Roca has signed Roby Norales, a classic number nine who can pump in the goals. Although he isn’t the tallest, his physical strength coupled with good speed would come in handy as Bengaluru hope that the Honduran striker will be a success.

In the recently concluded campaign of his side Platense in the Liga Nacional, Roby notched up 10 goals in 21 appearances for his side. Considering the creative flux of those behind him here at Bengaluru, Norales should be able to better that record. 

The onus will, of course, be on the Vicenarian to adapt quickly to his settings. Considering the personnel in charge, that shouldn't be a problem.