Bangalore's First Major Professional Soccer Club 'SOUTH UNITED FC'
At a time when Football in India is not at par in popularity with Cricket, starting a professional football club in a cricket dominated city of Bengaluru is really a brave, risky and bold decision. Some of the famous Football clubs in Bangalore which used to play in the national football league were ITI and HAL. Both were public sector clubs and lacked funds for development and to retain the talented players. Although HAL football club still exists the new rules of I-League does not allow any public sector clubs to compete in I-League. At this point of time the launch of South United FC has come in as a good news for the football loving fans of Bangalore.
The company who have come forward with this bold initiative is a sports management company in Mumbai called 'Lokko Sports'. South United Football Club was launched on 16 August 2012 at a Hotel in Bangalore by Lokko Sports India Pvt. Ltd. with the long term vision of providing a base for youngsters, not only in Bangalore but the entire Southern India region, to take up football as a professional career. There has been many talented players emerging from the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but today there is not even a single Club from the Southern region of India in I-League. CEO of Lokko Sports, Lokknath Char was quoted saying that "We're looking to bridge the gap between elite and grassroots sports while encouraging youngsters to take up sports as employment'. The club has also received strong backing from the Karnataka State Football Association.
To strengthen the performance of the club Lokko Sports has also roped in Raman Vijayan as the head coach. Raman Vijayan is an experienced Indian footballer who has represented India and also played for several top Indian clubs such as East Bengal, FC Cochin and Mohamedan Sporting. He is also not a stranger to coaching. He has coached Bangalore club KGF academy earlier called BEML. He also runs a Football academy in his home town in Tamil Nadu to promote local talent. Under him South United FC can certainly expect a bright future ahead.
Although South United FC did not have a good run in the just concluded 2nd Division I-League in Bangalore they certainly showcased some brilliance in the Banaglore Super Division when they played in their first major league at their home ground in Bangalore and managed to finish 2nd in the league. They also won their first major tournament, KEDARI REDEKAR UNITED CUP in Kolhapur in which several top Indian clubs participated.
One thing to be noticed about SUFC is that they are entirely made up of Indian talent and does not include any foreigner in their side. From sources close to the club its also understood that they are not interested in availing services from foreign players.
Lets wish South United FC all the best and hope they will be seen in India's premier football league, I-League very soon. We also hope that the club gains a lot of support from the Bangaloreans.