PANAJI: India captain Sunil Chhetri will continue to represent Bengaluru FC in the next edition of Indian Super League (ISL) which begins later this y...
PANAJI: India captain Sunil Chhetri will continue to represent Bengaluru FC in the next edition of Indian Super League (ISL) which begins later this year. Bengaluru FC, along with Tata Steel, are new entrants to the ISL which will see 10 teams in action this season.
The ISL is expected to announce new guidelines in the next 48 hours which will give existing franchises the right to retain two of their players. Chhetri played for Mumbai City FC for the last two seasons, and even though he did not open his account in last year’s semi-final appearing campaign, the Mumbai franchise did not need any reminding of Chhetri’s worth.
The India striker is the country’s leading goal-scorer and has scored crucial match winners in successive Asian Cup qualifiers against Myanmar and Turkmenistan. Not surprisingly, he remains the most sought-after player and Bengaluru FC has now won the race to procure his signature for a record fifth year. “In the end it came down to what Sunil wanted. It was his choice (to stay with Bengaluru FC),” BFC chief technical officer Mandar Tamhane told TOI on Friday.
As per ISL guidelines, both Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC had the chance to retain Chhetri.
“He may have been originally a Bengaluru FC player and loaned to Mumbai (in the ISL) last season but both franchises had the right to retain him,” said a source who has closely tracked the development.
Chhetri, 32, has been with Bengaluru for four seasons, finishing top scorer for the Blues every year. Udanta Singh is the second player BFC have retained, having invested heavily in him.