Bengaluru’s Udanta out for redemption in Hero Super Cup

KOZHIKODE: Ups and downs are a part and parcel of any footballer’s career. What cuts the top apart from the rest is that they strive to bounce back once they hit their lows. Bengaluru FC’s Udanta Kumam is attempting to do exactly that as his side strives to progress to the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup.

The winger is known for his speedy runs, especially down the right flank, but has arguably fallen down the pecking order, both at his club, and with the National Team. However, the 26-year-old showed up for Bengaluru FC in their Group A fixture on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 against Hero I-League champions RoundGlass Punjab, as he came off from the bench to score in a 2-0 victory for his side.

“I was not in the first XI, so I’ve been determined to win my place back. I’ve been giving my best in every training session, and waiting for my turn to show that I can do well,” Udanta said to “I got my chance against RoundGlass Punjab, and was eager to prove myself. I’m quite happy with the performance that I put in. I was able to help my team and also scored the winning goal, so it felt good.”

RoundGlass Punjab are looking to test themselves against the top sides of the Hero ISL, where they are set to participate next season, having been crowned champions of the Hero I-League 2022-23. The side from Punjab gave a good account of themselves and made it difficult for Bengaluru FC to get a strong footing in the game.

“It was a very tight game, and eventually we scored the first goal. We had to pace ourselves, as you can’t go for every ball in a high intensity game,” said Udanta. “We tried our best to keep the ball and stay mentally calm till the end, and eventually saw through the match.”

Bengaluru FC have come into the Hero Super Cup with double motivation to do well in the competition. The Blues suffered heartbreak in the Hero ISL final where they lost to ATK Mohun Bagan on penalties. They are also eager to get back to the AFC Cup, a competition where they famously made it to the final of the AFC Cup in 2016, after winning the Hero I-League the same year.

“After we lost in the final, we worked hard to prepare for the Hero Super Cup, and our focus right now is to reach the semi-finals,” said Udanta. “We also have a qualifying spot for the AFC Cup at stake here, and we are all very motivated to play at the continental level.

“We’ve had good runs in the AFC Cup before, and we want to be at that level once again. Every game is important for us if we want to go all the way.”

The 26-year-old has had many a great performance in National Team colours, but missed out on getting a call-up in the Blue Tigers’ most recent outing, where they won the Hero Tri-Nation International Football Tournament against Myanmar (1-0) and the Kyrgyz Republic (2-0) in his home town Imphal. Udanta, of course, would not miss the special occasion when his hometown hosted an international football tournament for the first time.

The speedy winger was boisterously cheering his side on from the stands, though he would like to have been on the pitch himself. “As a player, you always want to be on the pitch every game. OF course, I was their biggest fan, supporting them from the stands, but it really motivated me to improve myself and get back in the national team once again,” said Udanta. “I want to be on the pitch.”

Also Read: Odisha FC’s second-half blitz blows Aizawl FC away

Also Read: RoundGlass Punjab FC goes down to Bengaluru FC 2 – 0

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