FC Bengaluru United has retained 13 players ahead of the 2021-22 domestic season.
Having been crowned BDFA Super Division Champion earlier this year, the Bengaluru club will be keen to carry forward the momentum as it launches its bid to qualify for the I-League in September.
“We have always been clear and focused on our goal – to bring Bengaluru back to the I-League,” said Gaurav Manchanda, FC Bengaluru United’s owner.
“We are thankful to all the players who have played an integral role in the journey thus far. Continuity plays a key role in building a robust team structure, and we are glad we have the core strength to ensure this going forward into the new season.”
Among the retained players are some notable names, including attacking midfielder Hayden Fernandes and Arun N, who was adjudged the best midfielder in the 2019-20 BDFA Super Division.
Ronaldo Oliveira, who top-scored for the club in the recently concluded BDFA Super Division League, has also been retained, as has long-time FC Bengaluru United goalkeeper Srijith Ramesh.
While Hayden said he was excited about continuing to work with “experienced professionals who have helped me elevate my game to the next level”, Ronaldo said he was looking forward to “helping my teammates and have a great season ahead”.
Arun said he was looking forward to learning more from head coach Richard Hood, whose training “has helped improve my fitness”.
“Since October last year, all decisions have been made keeping in mind the upcoming qualifiers,” said Hood.
“We immensely value and respect the contributions of the players who have not been able to continue with us.
“The BDFA Super Division was a crucial platform to assess our squad for strengths and gaps – and the retained players have displayed the qualities to build on our game model with which we want to secure competitive success and promotion to the I-League,” the coach added.
The full list of retained players:
1. Srijith Ramesh – Goalkeeper 2. Kunzang Bhutia – Goalkeeper 3. Robin Gurung – Defender 4. Anup L – Defender 5. Brandon Green – Defender 6. Asraf Mondal – Defender 7. Asrar Rehbar – Midfielder 8. Hayden Fernandes – Midfielder 9. Arun N – Midfielder 10. Jaison Vaz – Striker 11. Ronaldo Oliveira – Striker 12. Naro Shrestha – Striker 13. Chelston Pinto — Defender