Bengaluru: A new-look Bengaluru FC side will kick off their pre-season training this week in the city before heading to Spain early next month for a 10-day training camp. The Blues will train at the state-of-the-art facilities at Pinatar Arena in Murcia during their stay in the Mediterranean region. Having finalized their squad on Sunday at the ISL Draft, Bengaluru FC Head Coach Albert Roca will now have an eye on the crucial AFC Cup Inter-Zonal semifinal against North Korean side April 25 SC as he prepares his squad for the first leg at home on August 23.
“The facilities at Pinatar Arena are top-class and I thank the management for providing us with this opportunity. The arena will provide us with everything we need to get up and running as fast as possible. Among all the other ISL teams, we’ll be in action first in the AFC Cup and it’s important that we utilize this time well so that our team settles in quickly. While we have managed to retain the core of our team, there are a lot of new signings which means that we need to put in that extra effort in pre-season to gel as a unit,” explained Roca.
During their stay, the Blues are set to face Spanish Segunda-B Division side UCAM Murcia CF (August 9) and 2016-17 UAE Pro League side Baniyas S&R (August 15) in friendly games.
The Blues base – the Pinatar Arena – boasts of six natural grass (Bermuda and ray grass) floodlit football pitches at FIFA standards with special areas designated for goalkeepers and a stadium with a capacity of 3,500 spectators that hosts friendlies and tournaments. The Arena also has top-class fitness centers with all the latest equipment from health and fitness innovators.
While the facility recently hosted an U21 tournament between national teams of Australia, Austria, Finland and Netherlands, they have regularly hosted training camps of top-flight clubs from all over Europe. A few of them include, German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund and FC Kaiserslautern, Spanish sides Levante UD and UD Almeria, Russian powerhouses CSKA Moscow and FC Zenit apart from Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea), FC Twente (Netherlands), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).
This will be the second time the Blues travel abroad for a pre-season training camp having earlier visited China at the start of the 2014-15 season. Back then, the Blues faced off against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Guangzhou R&F FC (0-3) from the Chinese Super League and Hong Kong Premier League’s Eastern AA (0-2).
The 23-man team departs from India on August 5th and is scheduled to return on August 16th.