In Conversation with Rahul Bheke: A Sportwalk exclusive
Over the past few years, Bengaluru FC’s Rahul Bheke has developed to become one of the best fullbacks in the country. His performances with Bengaluru FC have been widely acclaimed and applauded too. The 27-year-old has become an experienced lad now, having played for numerous clubs in his career so far.
In a conversation here, Bheke talks about various stuff including the Bengaluru FC family and his goal to represent the Indian national team.
Q: So Rahul, please provide some insight on how the current ISL season is progressing for you?
Well, it has been a slow start for me. But it does not matter much as long as the team keeps winning and attains three points in every match.
Q: What impresses you the most about the Bengaluru FC project that you are a part of?
The professional setup and approach of Bengaluru FC are what impresses me the most. It is a platform for a player to showcase their talent and a place where players are treated equally according to their potential. Also, this team has given me a lot of friends and it feels more like a family right now.
Q: How is Bengaluru FC different with respect to other clubs that you have represented in the past?
Every club functions quite differently. Honestly, Bengaluru FC treats each player according to their individual potential. Moreover, the management does it best to identify the strengths of these players and use it to the benefits of the team.
Q: How was your experience whilst playing for East Bengal for two seasons?
Playing for East Bengal was a great experience for me. Representing such a historic club always gave me a proud feeling. We won the CFL (Calcutta Football League) and scoring a goal in the derby was one of my most memorable experiences.
Q: Can you explain your feelings when East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan 4-0 in 2015? How was it scoring a goal in that match?
It was an important match and we had never thought that we would win with such a margin. We were confident that day and yes, scoring a goal against Mohun Bagan is a feeling that I would always cherish in my life.
Q: How helpful is it to share the dressing room with some Indian stalwarts such as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sunil Chettri?
Playing in Bengaluru FC with players like Gurpreet Paaji and Chettri Bhai has given me the extra boost and confidence. Both of them have been very helpful and have guided me whenever required. It is undoubtedly a pleasure to play with them.
Q: You have previously been a part of the I-League and now play in the ISL. How different has been the experience while playing for two different Indian leagues?
Well both the I-League and the ISL have been equally important to me, for the player that I am today. I have played for Mumbai FC, Air India, Mumbai Tigers, East Bengal in the I-League. Then, Kerala Blasters, Pune City and now Bengaluru in the ISL. Every team has been special and important to me.
Q: Your club career has been stellar so far. How do you plan to maintain the same level of consistency while playing for India going ahead?
Training hard, eating and sleeping well is what I plan to continue to maintain my consistency. Playing for my country is my next aim as it is a dream for me to represent India at the senior international level.
Q: Can you express your plans and views regarding the Indian national team in the upcoming Asia Cup?
I think I will give my best and accordingly help my team win games in the ISL. This way, I would try to achieve a national call-up in the near future. Recently India played China and did really well. They did not concede a goal and kept attacking the front. The current setup has a good bunch of players and a coach who believes in the squad. I would like to wish them the best for the upcoming Asia Cup.