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Newly-formed FC Deccan aiming for an I-League spot

By Aravind
FC Deccan players during a training session in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, November 11: Newly-formed team FC Deccan, which made its debut in the Bangalore District Football Association's Super Division League on Saturday (November 11), hopes to field a side in the I-League and compete at the top level one day.

Although they were impressive in their maiden competitive game against Jawahar Union FC at the Bangalore Football Stadium, they lost 0-4 against the better-prepared side. A brace each by Zaib S and Prathap secured three points for Jawahar Union.

FC Deccan in Super Division

Owned by isquarei, a sports-focused media, technology solutions and sportwear company, Deccan became a professional club and procured a licence to compete at the Super Division only a month ago. Consequently, they looked sluggish in patches in the first half of the game against Jawahar Union, who were promoted to the top-tier league in the city from the 'A' Division.

"We hadn't finalised the team until two days ago," coach Christopher Satish said. "There were trials going on for the last month. It takes time for a team, built from scratch, to reach its full potential. Team bonding too takes time and there was lack of communication from the boys today. This is all because we're fielding a team in such short notice. Going forward, we will definitely improve and hope to finish well in the league."

A bounced cheque cost Bengaluru a football club

Club general secretary Narayana Swamy, who is also a director in isquarei, was hopeful that with a couple of more training sessions, the team can fix its patchy display. "It was only on September 30 that we became a professional club," Narayana said. "In less than two months, we had to field a team in this league. Most of the good players in the city were already signed by other clubs. Moreover, we had to play on the second day of the league itself. I am proud of the performance by the boys today. We will improve in our next game for sure."

FC Deccan coach Christopher Satish (centre) discusses tactics with his boys during a training session

Why Super Division?

isquarei, the kit sponsors for I-League club Churchill Brothers, aspired to field a team to provide a platform and the opportunity for footballers to compete at the top level. "We've done field studies and are involved in market research," club president Archana Agrahara Ramaiah said. "What we found is that there is a huge gap (loophole) in the football system, where aspiring players get only limited number of opportunities to compete in tournaments. We wanted to encourage them and provide them the exposure they need to become better. We held talks with other clubs and see if they wanted to tie up with us. However, we then decided to field our own team and here we are now. The thought first came to us mid-2016."

Then, the BDFA finally accepted FC Deccan's as a professional club two months ago. Trials immediately began at the Padukone-Dravid Center for Sports Excellence off Airport Road and continued for more than a month. Practice sessions as well as a couple of friendlies were held at the centre and FSV Arena off Hennur.

The club has made impressive signings too. They have Mithun, a former Jawahar Union player as their captain. Jonathan Piers, who played for Bengaluru Royals in the Premier Futsal tournament, is a central defender. Former Bengaluru FC junior team midfielder Steve, 18 now, is a playmaker and Arun Arjun, a former South United player, mans the midfield for FC Deccan. There's also talk of roping in an African defender, which is pending clearance from the All India Football Federation.

"The average age of the team is 22," Narayana said. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for the amateur players to become more professional."

Why FC Deccan?

Narayana says the team's name gives an idea of the impact they want to create. "We want to serve in the entire Deccan Plateau region and that's why we called ourselves FC Deccan," he said. "We will obviously start in Bengaluru but we hope to make in-roads across the southern region. Football is in abundance here, we just have to unearth it."

What next?

Going forward, the club hopes to knock on the doors of the I-League second division through the Super Division League. "Many teams start with the same dream but don't end up anywhere," Narayana said. "For us, it's a viable trade because we work with an I-League club (Churchill) already and know the gaps to be filled. We have the resource to set up a marketing team and look after the commercial aspect of the club. We also hope to build a fan base soon."

Another aspect the club wants to explore is setting up its own academy. "We are in the process of setting up one already," Archana said. "It will come up at the GameChanger arena in Mathikere. We will confirm a coach for the academy soon. It could be ready in the next couple of months. We hope to take in around 200 kids in all age groups."

Deccan next play ASC and Centre on November 20. "That will be a tough one," Christopher added. "But we will put up a better show for sure," he signed off.

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    Story first published: Saturday, November 11, 2017, 20:18 [IST]
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