“Helping Garhwal FC to qualify for the I-League would be a historic moment” – Amey Bhatkal

With Sudeva FC becoming the first team from Delhi to play the I-League, there is a chance of scripting a new chronicle in Indian football provided Garhwal wins the I-League Qualifiers.

Speaking to Amey Bhatkal, one of the vital cogs of Garhwal FC, he apprises that he wants to create “history” by taking his team to the I-League. He would regard it as one of his “biggest achievements” being a footballer. 

Football in Delhi dates back to the 1930s. With teams such as Mughals, Young Men, New Delhi Heros, and Crescent dominating the scene, Delhi football has had a formidable past. The National Capital has hosted prestigious competitions such as Asia’s oldest tournament the Durand Cup, the Nehru Cup, and India’s first international tournament, the DCM Trophy.

Before Independence, Delhi also boasted the likes of producing legends such as Usman Jan, who captained the Santosh Trophy team and earned recognition with his heroics at Mohammedan Sporting, whom Garhwal FC will face in their opening fixture of the I-League Qualifiers tomorrow.  

Looking at the prestigious past, and the forthcoming future of football in the capital, forward Amey Bhatkal feels the adrenaline to shoulder responsibilities, and write a new chapter for Delhi football.  

Before the pandemic happened, Garhwal set out on an instrumental path topping Group A with 14 points in the 2nd Division League. They played seven games, managed to win four, drew twice and lost once. The team scored 14 goals in their 7 matches which was the best display in the league after ARA FC scoring 15. 

But with the coronavirus raging upon the world, nothing has remained the same. Speaking about the standstill for six months, Amey believes that playing under the new circumstances would certainly be a challenge. 

“This is the first sporting activity that will take place in India since the lockdown. Playing under such circumstances is different and every team and player would be new to this. However, I can assure the AIFF and our team Garhwal FC is taking every possible step” quipped Amey. 

“The pandemic hasn’t changed our goal. The preparations happened in full swing, and with a day to go for kick-off, we all have worked hard and are looking forward to the tournament.” assured the 23-year-old Centre Forward. 

 Considering the other participants, Garhwal FC has gathered a younger squad for the competition. Speaking about the added pressure of having a younger side, Amey believes that football is a team game and the onus is on everyone. “The game of football is a team sport and I think it is won with the help of every individual, which includes players, coaches, support staff and management. Garhwal FC is strong as a team and won’t shy away from any opportunity” says Amey. 

Amey has an experience of playing the 2nd Division League in the previous season plying his trade for Bengaluru United. Not only did Amey have a crucial role in the team, but he holds the record of scoring the first ever goal since their inception in 2019 against FC Goa Reserves. He played 12 matches in the BDFA Super Division where he scored 6 goals and made 3 assists. When asked about the feeling of playing against his former side, Amey proclaims that being a professional, emotions cannot triumph his duties.

 “All the learnings and experience from Bengaluru United will help me as a footballer and as an individual. There will be familiar faces on the field and the bench. Being a professional, I’m 100% committed to Garhwal FC, and my sole objective is to take my side to the I-League” apprised Amey. 

Garhwal FC recently included Amey and three other youngsters from Mumbai. The inclusion of Vinod Pandey, Amey Bhatkal, Nikhil Pal and Rahul Das will bring the “Aamchi Mumbai” flavour within the team. Speaking about the camaraderie these youngsters have between them, Amey explains with a grin. 

 “It feels good to have players from Mumbai with whom you’ve played in the junior ranks. I’m looking forward to spend quality time with them and others. We as a team have players from different parts of the country, and we all have bonded really well. As our Coach Vikas Rawat said to us, the team bonding and unity alongside our grit and determination will help us achieve our goal” concluded Amey. 

 Garhwal FC will commence their journey tomorrow clashing swords against Mohammedan SC at Kalyani Stadium, Kolkata. The match is slated to start from 16:30 IST and will be broadcasted live on 1Sports. 


For fixtures, standing and all news on I League 2nd Division – Final Round – Visit here

Also Read: I strongly believe in my team, says Garhwal FC skipper Bala Alhassan

For articles on unknown talented footballers – Visit here

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai

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