Numero uno: How Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's devotion to football scaled him to the top

Life in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 has been a bit tough for the likes of Bengaluru FC, who are yet to find their feet this season, with only one win to their name after five matchweeks into the new season. They will be facing an in-form Mumbai City FC in the upcoming week of the Hero ISL as they look to gain some momentum and try doing so against a strong opponent away from home.

Although it has been a rocky patch for Bengaluru FC in the past few seasons, there have been a few standout players who have been through the club's overarching highs and lows, and are still a crucial asset to the team. One such notable player is their man in-between the sticks, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

A native from Mohali, Gurpreet considers football to be his everything and claims that it is no longer just a role he has to play in his professional life because he cannot live without it. For a player, it is all about passion and the oxygen that we breathe. That is his narration of what football means to him. It is his gateway to happiness and helps him get out of problems during tough times.

Over the years, he has grown his stature as one of the best goalkeepers in the country, and has been one of the few keepers to have shown incredible longevity in the Hero ISL.

The shot-stopper will be looking forward to the next game in search of a clean sheet after four consecutive games without having one. While doing so, Gurpreet will also try reach new highs and help his team as the season progresses.

If you want someone to have in between the sticks, Gurpreet is certainly your man. Scoring past him is considered to be of high regard because his goalkeeping capabilities, whom many determine to be the wall also because of his authoritative presence in front of the goal. The only goalkeeper in the Hero ISL to win two successive Golden Glove awards speaks volumes of his goalkeeping.

Gurpreet brings a lot of qualities with him, and being a leader is another such quality. The experience he brings in is also of huge importance. 

“Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is a natural leader, he is the voice in the dressing room and on the pitch. He is the best goalkeeper in Hero ISL”, said Simon Grayson, head coach of Bengaluru FC.

Be it at the club level or at the national level, the custodian has always managed to deal with any attacker irrespective of the defenders in front of him. 

"He makes the job of defenders pretty easy as we do not need to be in two minds while blocking a shot as there is an assurance of him being able to deal with it", said Gurpreet's club and national teammate Sandesh Jhingan. This is the sort of confidence a player needs to inspire his teammates while on the pitch, which helps the team keep improving.

The 30-year-old is always having a conversation with not just his defenders but also every other teammate on the pitch, which in itself is another quality that makes him better than the rest in the league. With Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet is another leader on the pitch because of his massive presence in the game and the awareness of the standards that he has set for himself.

Former Bengaluru FC player Erik Paartalu also refers to him as the undisputed goalkeeper the country has had. It is always amazing to share the pitch with India’s number one keeper, he further added.

An extremely ambitious player who has set targets, Gurpreet is determined to win and only win. That is what he plays for, and he wants to achieve everything there is to achieve in this sport.

Gurpreet makes sure to keep himself fit throughout and help the team in any way possible, be it on or off the pitch.

“There is nothing such as personal targets, but if I have to keep one, it is only to help my team achieve the objectives and win games," added a confident Bengaluru FC goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

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