Pune: India defender Moirangthem Gouramangi Singh is looking forward to the start of the I-League football season on January 17 and representing debutant club Bharat FC in the tournament after his stint at the Indian Super League, which ended last month.
"ISL is behind us now. The focus for me now is the I-League. I am now looking forward to play in the I-League for Bharat FC. I am very happy with the club's vision and ambition to go forward. Personally speaking I will try and give my best to the team," said the player at the Pune-based club's three match kits unveiling here on Friday.
Gouramangi, represented Chennayin FC in the ISL, however was stumped for words when asked how the All India Football Federation can improve the visibility for I-League after the successful ISL that ended on December 20.
Bharat FC Director Kunal Agarwal came to the player's rescue and said that the success of the ISL would hopefully trickle down to I-Leauge.
"AIFF has done a tremendous job for ISL. I am sure the trickle-down effect will be seen in I-League. ISL has opened the door for people of India to follow Indian football," said Agarwal.
Bharat FC's MD Amit Kalyani, meanwhile, reminded everyone of the success tasted by Bengaluru FC, which won the I-league title on its debut last year.
"I expect the team to play good football, show sportsman spirit. Winning is important but so is how you play," said Kalyani, adding that the club is planning to tie up with schools as part of the grass root building programme.
Agarwal said that the club plans to build a world-class football stadium at Manjri on the outskirts of the city.
"The club is going to build a lot of stuff around football like academies, schools for footballers, top class training grounds. We are planning to build a top class stadium for football at Manjri. The process will start next month," he said.
He said on the sidelines of the function that Bharat FC would be spending Rs 12 crore in the first year and the planned infrastructure, budgeted to cost Rs 950 crore, will be done in four years.
The squad for its inaugural season comprises seasoned
players like front-liner Subas Singh, defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo, goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya and defender Dharmaraj Ravanan.
The club also has two overseas signings in forward Kris Bright of New Zealand and defender Bobby Hassell from England. Team's head coach Stuart Watkiss could not be present as he had gone home to England following the death of his mother.
"He had to go back to England following the death of his mother. He will be back next season," said Agarwal.
The team members were introduced by assistant coach Stanley Rosario.
Bharat FC would kick off its campaign with a home game at the Balewadi Stadium here against former champions Dempo SC on January 24.
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Harshad Meher, Shahinlal Meloly.
Defenders: Gouramangi Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Nallapan Mohanraj, James Naorem Singh, Bikramjeet Singh, Bobby Hassell, Shahbaz Saleel.
Midfielders: Lester Fernandez, Simranjeet Singh, G Vignesh, J Prasad, Dipendu Dowary, Adil Khan.
Forwards: Manjeet Singh, Rajinder Kumar, Kris Bright, Subash Singh, Surojit Bose.