The Sree Kanteerava Stadium will be the witness to upwards of ten thousand screaming fans as reigning Champions of India Bengaluru FC will begin their I League title defence against anew comers Chennai City FC. While their achievements in the three years they have been in existence has been simply amazing, coach Albert Roca is clear in his vision for the club. To be the best in Asia.
The New Blues
While this would certainly seem to be a lofty goal no less, Roca has signalled his intent by the signings he has made thus far. The additions of players such as Harmanjot Khabra, Arindam Bhattacharya, Lenny Rodrigues and a few others have gone onto reinforce not only the squad but also the dreams of Roca and his trusted lieutenant Carles Cuadart.
While this is only something that has gone on to increase the squad depth rather significantly, it seems quite clear where the intentions of Roca lies. It also points to the fact that he will be looking to extend his run in the cups meaning that he is expected to be the man to help erase the heartaches of the AFC Cup final where it was Iraqi Club Air Force that pipped the Blues 1-0 to reach win the cup.
The one thing that is pending as far as the Blues are concerned would probably be the addition of their fourth overseas player.
The Complexity of the I-League
The I-League is unlike most of the leagues in the world. They do not play from August to March like the Premier League (Of course, BFC fans will know this), but for those who are not familiar or new blues for that matter, it would seem rather strange. This season witnesses 10 Teams take part in the League with a few new additions. Chennai City FC are the newcomers this season and will be Bengaluru’s rival when it comes to playing against Southern opponents.
Minerva FC, the Punjab-based club will also witness its first season in the I-League. Churchill Brothers, once Champions have seemingly fought off their financial crisis to make a comeback into the league.
The upcoming matches can be found here.
The Nasty Affair of the AFC Champions League
The last two seasons have seen the Blues play in the AFC Cup, the trophy a team is relegate to if they do not qualify through the Group Stages of the Champions League. While the Bengaluru-based side has seemingly not qualified to the upper tier of the confederation tournament, they have been making waves with their performances in the AFC Cup. The Cup ties have seen the Blues also go onto make history in the 2015/16 edition of the AFC Cup.
By virtue of reaching the finals, they not only created history by becoming the first team to reach the final, but also overcame a foe in the form of Johor Darul Ta’azim, who had beaten them time and again when it came to the Champions League and the Cup. This time, the Blues are the beneficiary of the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League and will be hoping to crack the nut of the opening stages irrespective of the opponents they face.
For three years, the Blues have been instrumental in the club’s success in recent times. Needless to say, they will be key to the club’s chances in all tournaments this season.