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Bruno Pinheiro: ISL is a great league that’s improved Indian football

10 November 2017ISL Media Team
Bruno Pinheiro: ISL is a great league that’s improved Indian football

Just days before the grand opening of the fourth edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), its first media day took place at the JW Marriott in Juhu, Mumbai on Friday. It was attended by five Hero ISL clubs, namely Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC.

The players and the coaches of the teams indulged in open interview sessions that saw them take time to answer questions thrown at them, while also sharing their thoughts ahead of the new season.

Bengaluru FC are one of the two debutants in the league. One of their longest serving players has been defender John Johnson and the Englishman explained how the Blues planned on approaching their new endeavor.

“We have got a good, flexible squad with some new players coming in. The team has been together for quite a while now, which is good for us. We have been working hard, and hope to be the surprise package that everyone is expecting us to be,” the tall centre-back said.

The Blues have Spaniard Albert Roca as their new head-coach and he admitted that he has a tough job at hand.

“We are excited to be part of the ISL, but we also know how difficult it is going to be to start with a good season. I would love the team to pull some surprises, but it is not going to be easy. But if we train hard and focus, we can be in the semi-finals for sure,” the veteran coach went on to say.

FC Pune City has roped in Ranko Popovic as their new head coach. The Serbian was visibly excited about his new journey. He was clear as to what needs to be done so that the Stallions can attain success in the league.

“The biggest challenge is to make the team,” he stated. “We have to make sure the players who are part of the team are healthy, and also bring the connection between them so that the team functions well.”

He further added, “We will try to be attractive, play the kind of football the people like and try and score more than the opponents. We have some talented players and some experienced players, and if we play with this mix well, we will hopefully get what we want.”

One of FC Goa’s foreign recruits has been Portuguese defender Bruno Pinheiro. The 30-year-old heaped praise on the ISL, explaining how it has helped Indian football.

“ISL is a great league. It improved the quality of football by giving exposure to Indian football, and the results are out there,” he said. “There was a big gap between Indian and foreign players in the first season. But this season, I don’t feel the same. Their confidence has been boosted and that’s very good for Indian football.”

The second media day featuring the remaining teams will take place in Kolkata on November 12.

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