With an electric show at the Bangalore Football Stadium, The Jindal Steel Works (JSW) group announced the launch of its football team, Bengaluru Football Club (FC). Along with the name, the club also unveiled the squad, the crest and the team colours at the event.
The new home of Bengaluru FC featured a performance from local drummers, while Bangalore-based folk-rock act Swarathma had the crowd dancing to their tunes.
A spectacular display of fireworks was used to unveil the name of the club followed by a dazzling laser show that revealed the club’s crest. The evening ended with the unveiling and introduction of the squad.
In the press conference, JWS Sports CEO, Mustafa Ghouse thanked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for giving them an opportunity to serve Bangalore Football.
Asked why this corporate is pumping money to the game, especially after the Mahindra Group and JCT Mills disbanding their football team, AIFF President and Central Minister, Prafull Patel responded saying JSW’s endeavour is to infuse new enthusiasm to the I-League, no half-hearted attempts, invest in the game a and get viewers to the stadium.
Patel said that English professional team, Queens Park Rangers Football Club, owned by Air Asia, is interested to set a professional team in Chennai.
Manager and a graduate of the Manchester United Academy, Ashley Westwood said, “These are exciting times for Bengaluru FC together. I feel privileged to be a manager here and the players should be privileged as well to represent Bengaluru as a city. We will, without doubt, be the most organised outfit in the I-League and we look forward to many successful years with the club.”
Westwood has gathered his experience on Indian football via players' database, consulting with his assistant Pradhyum Reddy and also speaking with India captain Sunil Chhetry. He put a holistic approach to it: “It is after all a simple game played with a ball, two goal posts, and 22 players!”
Parth Jindal, the young CEO of Bengaluru FC, talked about enhancing clubs infrastructure. The team will be practicing in the Bangalore Football Stadium. There are plans to install floodlights at the ground so that the games can be played in the evening to attract more crowd. This, however, may have to wait until next season.
The overhauling of the stadium, which is again a part of commitment from Bengaluru FC, will happen in a phased manner, so that it does not affect the ground.
The AIFF president concluded, “Currently, Indian football is in a midst of change. This is just a baby step for more important steps. Mumbai Tigers is already in place in Mumbai, there are two more clubs coming up in South of India - Chennai and Kochi. To the new clubs, we have put condition – build stadiums with strong infrastructure so that supporters should get a better viewing experience.”
Bengaluru FC squad so far
Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, John Johnson, Malemnganba Metei, Karan Sawhney, Gurtej Singh, Keegan Pereira, Darren Caldeira, Rino Anto, Bruno Colaco, Pawan Kumar, Don Bosco Andrew, Ricardo Cardozo, Lazorama Fanai, Vishal Kumar, Kutty Mani and Thoi Singh
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