“FCBU has created great infrastructure for Bangalore players to shine” say Manoj and Srijith

BDFA Super Division Club FC Bengaluru United have shifted to top gear as they look to enter the business end of the season with their winning momentum intact.

The two-time BDFA Super Division Champions have been fine form this season as they look to defend their title; they are currently They have been in fine form this season and find themselves sitting on top of the table with Sporting Club Bengaluru.

Local lads Manoj Kannan and Srijith R have been a regular feature in Khalid Jamil’s side through the season thus far; their strong defensive skills ensuring the team continues to concede the least number of goals in the league. The 26-year-old Manoj grew up in Bangalore playing as a left-back but under FCBU Head Coach Jamil, he has shifted to being a centre-back, “FCBU and the Coach are always looking for ways help enhance their player’s skills and help them improve. This was one of the reasons why they suggested that I start playing as a centre-back where I can use my ball distribution and speed to better use,” said Manoj.

Goalkeeper Srijith, a constant with FC Bengaluru United since the inception of the club, has been a rock with Jairo Rodrigues and Manoj in front of him. “I suffered from a Grade-2 ankle sprain back in 2018,” recollects Srijith. “I couldn’t set my foot on the ground let alone kick a ball. It was terribly dejected because I also missed out on that season. I was advised rest for 3 months to recover from the injury and during this period my confidence and self-esteem hit rock bottom. It was my dad who advised me through it, helped me with my physical and mental stability, and encouraged me to attend trials and that is how I came to be a part of FCBU. Since Khalid has taken over the reins at the club, he has had a huge impact on the way we play and how we think; it is his mentality before the game that gives us the confidence to go out and perform,” he said, on his journey this far.

The football club also has its United Pro Football Schools currently operating out of seven locations in Bengaluru, to scout emerging talent and provide top-class coaching at an early stage. When asked about just how important a role the Academy plays, Manoj said: “FCBU has created a great infrastructure for us to shine and it is up to the Bengaluru youngsters and us to take advantage of this and further our careers. A lot of professionalism and discipline is required if you aim to make something of yourselves in this sport but there will always be support from FCBU for the ones who need it.”

Srijith’s father and grandfather represented the Karnataka state team during their time and their sportsmanship and attitude inspired him and made him fall in love with football. When asked about his thoughts on the development of football in Bengaluru he said, “With 19 teams playing now there are a lot more opportunities for the local guys to shine. Even from the FCBU academy, a few of the kids like Len, Ishaan, and Gurvir who come and train with the main team are great examples of this. Everyone from the academy is capable but they are the ones knocking on the door of the main team.” Srijith also doubles up as the goalkeeping coach with the United Pro Football Schools.

FC Bengaluru United play their next BDFA Super Division game against Bengaluru FC on 28th November.

Also Read: Kenkre held to 1-1 draw by Churchill Brothers

Also Read: Bharat football academy launched in Bangalore

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