Gerard Zaragoza: Bengaluru FC fans are the fire in our veins, we need to bring joy to them

Bengaluru FC head coach Gerard Zaragoza believes that the Blues need to spark a turnaround and play an attractive brand of football primarily to bring happiness back to their beloved supporters. The team is gearing up to host their southern rivals Chennaiyin FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on February 7, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (IST). Zaragoza shares a special connection with the club, as he was the assistant to Carles Cuadrat when they won the title in 2018-19.

“We need to ensure that fans enjoy the price that they pay for our tickets”

Since then, he has coached in Greece and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but Zaragoza fondly remembers the sheer passion of the BFC faithful, and his straightforward objective at the moment is to give a memorable experience to the supporters flocking the stands in their home games.

“We are going day by day, match by match, this is a process. The only thing we want to do is to bring joy to our supporters. They are too important for us. They are the fire in our veins. When we are in the changing room and we go outside and listen to them, it’s amazing. The players know that not just the players, even when the other clubs come to the Kanteerava, they know the importance of our supporters. They pay a ticket to come to us, and when they go home, they need to say, ‘We enjoyed today’. This is the most important thing,” Zaragoza said.

Bengaluru FC saw some significant departures in the summer, most important, Udanta Singh and Sandesh Jhingan leaving for FC Goa. That surely took a hit on the club, as acknowledged by former head coach Simon Grayson before he was relieved from his duties. Throughout his career, he has coached in Spain, Georgia, UAE, Qatar, Greece, and India. The Blues are accordingly in a phase of transition this season, and Zaragoza is acknowledging the fact that he cannot burden the team with his demands straightaway. He understands that he needs to spend some time getting the current squad adapted with his ideas, and hence has adopted a pragmatic approach of finding a middle ground that works in the best interests of all stakeholders involved.

“We will see a nice change at BFC in a few months”

“It is something that I have learned from all the countries I have worked in. You need to have the capacity to adapt to the new country, new club, and new players. For me, in my style of life, I have a style of football, and I have these players, and I need to try to arrive in the middle and we have to try to arrive in the middle. That means that the players we have are the best at the moment. We are going to work hard,” Zaragoza said.

“We are on the right wave. We have a lot of young talented players who are knocking at the door and I am sure that we will see a nice change in a few weeks or months,” he added.

There is a sense of familiarity for Zaragoza at Bengaluru FC, primarily because of his former association with the club. Albert Roca is the technical consultant for the Blues, and he naturally had a key role to play in bringing Zaragoza back to the club. He is also in good touch with his former head coach Cuadrat, who is at the helm of East Bengal FC at the moment. He insists that his style of football is concerned with maintaining complete control over the proceedings.

“I know what Albert Roca means for the BFC and the city”

“I know what Albert Roca means for the BFC and the city. We have been friends for a long time. From when I was with Carles, we always said that maybe one day we will work together. We were always in touch, not only about BFC, but about football in general. I am a type of person that likes to have control over everything and in football, of course. I like to take control of the game, it means whether we have the ball or not, we control the situation. But this is a process that needs time to work, and needs the players to understand too,” Zaragoza said.

Whilst the campaign must not have resumed on the best of notes for the Blues, as the head coach said, they must be taking belief and confidence in returning to their base at the Sree Kanteerava. Their clashes against Chennaiyin FC have always produced fireworks, starting from their maiden final encounter in the 2017-18 season, where the Marina Machans triumphed. With both teams in the quest of a much-needed win, one can expect this match to be a terrific entertainer for the fans.

Where to Watch

Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 HD (English), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), News 18 Kerala (Malayalam – select matches) & DD Bangla (Bengali). In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.

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Also Read: Om Saidham FC secures playoff spot with dramatic win over Young Guns FA (Rhema)

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