Bheke, Brandon eager to impress in Stimac's India setup
With the King's Cup in Thailand right around the corner and new head coach Igor Stimac at the helm, Indian football is headed towards a brand new chapter. The founding blocks of the era to come are already being laid, with Stimac taking charge of the team for the very first time at the national camp for the upcoming tournament.
The Croat oversaw practice sessions involving 37 probables for the King's Cup on May 21 at the Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi and was at the thick of things from day one. The former Croatian national team player and coach took the players through a set of drills and fitness tests.
Two players who will be in focus during the camp are Bengaluru FC's Rahul Bheke and FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes. For Bheke, this is his maiden call up for a national team camp while Brandon finds himself back in the fray after almost four years. Despite the duo's brilliant showings in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) for their respective clubs, they were overlooked for the national team by former India head coach Stephen Constantine, much to the dismay of many Indian football fans.
Handed a fresh lease of life under Stimac, both Bheke and Brandon are eager to grab the opportunity with both hands and impress the new head coach.
"This is a chance which I can’t afford to blow up. I will give my best in the camp," revealed a determined Bheke from the sidelines of the practice session.
Brandon, too, echoed his teammate's sentiments and said, "I was training a bit in the off season. But now I am here and I want to give my cent per cent in every session. I will be taking it day by day. My first target is to get into the final list for the King’s Cup. So right now I am focussing on that."
Besides their own personal aspirations, both players were left mighty impressed by Stimac and predicted a bright future ahead under the new stewardship.
"The coach greeted everyone with a Namaste and shared his plans about Indian football. As a team, the coach wants us to play together as a unit and if we have to be one of the best teams in Asia, we have to think big and follow our dreams. He is very much positive about the growth of Indian football and wants to take us further into being one of the best team in Asia," stated Bheke.
"He is a very experienced coach and can do great things for this country. His plans and goal is to improve us and I feel that it was a good choice to appoint him," added Brandon.