What’s the story?
Bengaluru FC have retained the services of Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh with the duo penning three-year deals with the club, keeping them in the Garden City till 2020
In a release to the press, the CEO of the club Parth Jindal expressed his happiness after wrapping up the deals, saying, “We are thrilled at being able to retain the present and the future of Indian football in Sunil and Udanta. The two of them have been immense for Bengaluru FC and will be vital cogs in our wheel as we take on the challenge of rebuilding the club for what will be a tough season ahead.”
In case you didn’t know...
Bengaluru FC, who have won four major domestic in the four years of its existence, will switch over from the I-League to the ISL later this season. And with all ISL clubs being allowed to retain two players from their former squad, the Steelmen wasted no effort in sealing the services of the talismanic Indian skipper and the brightest winger on the scene.
Both had earlier appeared in the ISL for Mumbai City FC.
The heart of the matter
Chhetri, who is the highest scorer in club history has led the team to two I-League titles and two Federation Cups, first under Ashley Westwood and recently the Federation Cup under Albert Roca – although he was injured for the knockout phase of the tournament.
The Indian skipper, who recently moved ahead of England’s Wayne Rooney on the list of international goals scored by an active player, went on social media to display his joy on signing the new deal.
Udanta Singh was also delighted to carry on with the Blues, a club which gave him his first break and three years back and hopes that he will be able to give his best in the next three years as well.
With the signing of these two stars, Bengaluru will not be able to retain any more Indian players aged 21 and above for the upcoming ISL season. The rest of the Indian contingent like Amrinder Singha and Eugeneson Lyngdoh are now free to enter the draft for the upcoming ISL season or negotiate deals with the I-League sides.
The likes of Daniel Lalhimpuia and Nishu Kumar, however, will be with the side in their opening season of the ISL.
The decision to part with the core of the side that has led the side to many riches including a trip to the final of the 2016/17 AFC Asia Cup must be hard. But as Bengaluru sets sail into uncharted territories of Indian football, there is no man better than Sunil Chhetri.
Udanta is arguably is the best winger in India at the moment is a speed merchant who is improving with each passing year. And at 21, his best days are certainly ahead of him.
The side, however, will dearly miss the services of Eugeneson Lyngdoh (who they might still get in the draft). The man from Meghalaya has been at the heart of the side and been pivotal in their success in the past four years. However, with him now 30, it was an easy decision for the management to make when it came to choosing between him and Udanta.