Bengaluru FC are the face of Indian football says Bhaichung Bhutia
Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia is the latest person to pour praise over I-League champions Bengaluru FC. The former India skipper has said that the AFC Cup finalists are the face of Indian football in an interview with The Telegraph. The 3-year-old club recently made history by reaching the finals of the AFC Cup, becoming the first ever Indian club to do so.
Bengaluru FC, which took birth in 2013, have already won two I-League titles and a Federation Cup. However, their biggest achievement so far is making it to the finals of the 2016 AFC Cup which can be considered as one of the biggest achievements Indian football has had in recent times.
The Blues were given direct entry to the I-League in 2013 by the AIFF and Bhutia believes they have proved that it was a right decision. The former Indian national team captain also said that Bengaluru have been amazing since their debut and have now become the face of Indian football.
"Bengaluru FC have vindicated the faith shown in them by the AIFF. They have proved that giving them a direct entry to the I-League was a correct decision.
"Considering their performance since debut, I think they are the face of Indian football at present. They have been exceptional," the 39-year-old told Telegraph.
The whole of India backed Bengaluru FC against Iraq's Air Force Club in the AFC Cup finals, which took place in Doha. However, unfortunately, the two-time I-League champions were beaten 1-0 by their opponents. Bhutia, though, didn't consider it to be a disappointment and praised the performance of the team, both in the finals and the competition.
"One must admit that it's a terrific achievement to make the final. They braved all odds to finish in the top two.
"Defensively, Bengaluru FC were solid in the final. John Johnson was simply superb. Remember, they were up against a very good Iraqi side. They had to battle a very strong side but in spite of that, they fought really, really hard", Bhutia said.
The “Sikkimese Sniper” also spoke about Bengaluru FC and current Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri. He expressed his disagreement on Bengaluru FC manager Alberto Roca playing Chhetri on the wings and said that the player can only be best utilised when he is played upfront.
"He is taking extra workload now, which is fine. He's doing a very good job. But I don't quite support this idea of making him play wide. It's a bit of a defensive ploy and I don't think he cannot be utilised best in this way. He is deadlier and at his best playing upfront. By making him play wide, I don't think you can make optimum use of Sunil," the former Indian striker explained.
The Indian football fans will be hoping that Bengaluru FC reaching the AFC Cup finals is only the beginning of good times for the country in the world of football.
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