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Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC: "We must learn from the mistakes of last season," opines Suresh Wangjam

In a candid interview with The Bridge, the young midfielder spoke up close and personal ahead of the new season.

Bengaluru FC: We must learn from the mistakes of last season, opines Suresh Wangjam

Atrayo Bhattacharya

Updated: 16 Nov 2021 6:59 AM GMT

Not many players have had as smooth a transition from the Indian Arrows to the India Super League as Bengaluru FC midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam. The industrious midfielder became the club's heartbeat in a jiffy and it was mainly due to his passion and dedication to the craft as a footballer.

Starting from his AIFF Elite Academy days to his journey with Bengaluru FC, one thing that has remained constant is Suresh's growth as a player. The Manipuri midfielder's main selling point is the energy that he brings to the middle of the park. He can be robust while chasing play and very nifty when with the ball. He is someone who is looking to always learn and it is that attitude that has allowed him to achieve so much at such a tender age.

In a candid interview with The Bridge, the young midfielder spoke at length on various topics involving his experiences of leading the team in the U23 Asian Championships, the journey ahead with Bengaluru FC, and the impact of senior players in his career.

Sucess in SAFF campaign

Suresh has had a meteoric rise in Indian football much like some of his peers from the U-17 World Cup days. But his biggest moment in Indian football happened very recently when he scored a decisive goal against Nepal in the SAFF Championship finals, helping the Blue Tigers to lift the cup.

When you score or assist, it gives you a lot of confidence, Suresh Singh Wangjam; (Image Source: AIFF Media)

"One thing that I got to know after scoring the goal in the SAFF final against Nepal is that when you score or assist, it gives you a lot of confidence," Suresh quipped. "Then after the finals, I went for the U23 Asian Championships in Dubai and that goal gave me a lot of confidence and I could feel that difference on the field."

On his leadership skills

Apart from scoring his maiden goal for the senior team, Suresh also led the U23 team in the Asian Championship as the Blue Colts finished second in a tough group. Sharing more insights on leadership the youngster points out the influence of Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in shaping him up as a leader.

"Honestly I feel I am very lucky to have them in my team. I get to spend a lot of time with them in the dressing room, dining table, everywhere for the national team and also for the club. So whenever I sit with Chhetri Bhai he shares his knowledge with me. He has been leading India for so long, so he tells me to do things whenever I am the captain. It is really nice for me and the good thing in the U23 Championship was all of them were my friends from the U17 World days," the 19-year-old quipped.

Suresh points out the influence of Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in shaping him up as a leader; (Image Source: BFC Media)

On the ongoing transition at BFC

Bengaluru FC had a forgetful season in their last campaign as they finished in the seventh position in the ISL points table. But Suresh believes that there were a lot of lessons that they should learn so that they never repeat them again. He also highlights how the Blues are going through a transitional phase and youngsters are stepping up and looking to fill the big shoes in the team.

"It was a terrible season for us, quite forgetful. But we must take learnings from the mistakes that happened last season. Despite being a bad season for us, I think there were a lot of things to learn from it and it is probably the only silver lining. We have a lot of experience in our team with players like Chhetri Bhai, Gurpreet Bhai. And the youngsters like Thoi, Damait, Sivasakthi are also eager to prove themselves," opined Suresh. He added, "So it will be a transition for us as several players will come in and it will be a challenge for us to know each other more. But we have been preparing really well and getting to know each other more so that we don't repeat the same mistake as last season,"

Playing under the new gaffer

Bengaluru FC have one of the best young core to make that transition happen. But it is all up to their new head coach Marco Pezzaiouli to connect the dots and make things work seamlessly. Suresh feels that the German tactician has enough credentials to fulfill that promise and can take the club to greater heights. Speaking about the new coach Suresh said, "Our new coach Marco first of all, is a good human being. And as a coach, he is very demanding. He pushes us in every training session, taking everything from us. In tactics, he likes to keep possession and is very aggressive in attack. As he likes to implement high pressing. We are very lucky to have him, he comes from a top footballing country. He was working in the Bundesliga and we hope that we do well this season under his coaching. "

The BFC family

Starting from AIFF Elite Academy to the Indian national team, the journey has been long for Suresh. But the Manipuri midfielder has hustled his way past all the challenges and has built a reputation in Indian football like no other. For that, he is very grateful for the opportunity handed out by Bengaluru FC. The Blues saw potential in him during his Indian Arrows days and snapped him up immediately. Since then he has never looked back again. Suresh shared how the club has been with him in everything and how the people associated with the club have supported him in each of the steppings in his journey till now.

"When I joined BFC a lot of players helped me grow, not only the players even the coaching staff were involved in everything. I feel very lucky as my seniors motivate me a lot.

"Honestly I did not know anyone when I joined the club but the way they welcomed me was great. Starting from the players to the staff even the kit manager has helped me a lot. It is the BFC family as a whole who made me, " said Bengaluru FC's very own 'El Torito'.

On the emerging players

Lastly speaking on youngsters, Suresh explained how every ISL team has kept their focus clear in roping youngsters and nurturing them for the future. He specifically pointed out Damaitphang Lyngdoh and Narayanan Sivasakthi as his best picks from the Bengaluru FC roster to flourish in the Indian football circuit in the coming years. He also highlights youngsters from different teams explaining the diversity present in the ISL.

"I think players like Damait, Sivasakhti are very good for their age. I can tell you that I was not as good when I was their age," Suresh opined. He believes, "almost every club has players who can be a contender for the emerging player award". "In Hyderabad, there is Akash (Mishra), he is very good. Then in East Bengal, they have Amarjit (Kiyam), in Mumbai they have (Mohammad) Rakip and Apuia (Ralte). So in every club, they have some good youngsters," concluded the highly-rated midfielder.

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