Bengaluru FC Sign Four Youngsters, Adds Squad Depth

Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC on Saturday announced the signing of four youngsters, in their bid to strengthen the core of the squad ahead of the upcoming 2022-23 season.

Local boys Sudheer Kotikala and Ankith Padmanabhan, who represented Karnataka in their run to the Santosh Trophy semifinals, have signed two and three-year deals respectively. On the other hand, Clarence Fernandes and Felixson Conny Fernandes, who were scouted from the JSW Youth Cup, have signed three-year deals.

Bengaluru-born Ankith, who has represented Young Challengers FC, Ozone FC Bengaluru and most recently Kickstart FC in the BDFA Super Division League, has previously been part of the Blues’ youth development programme.

A striker, Ankith’s six goals in eight games in the BDFA Super Division League were a deciding factor in the Blues’ acquisition of his services.

Meanwhile, Kotikala hails from Hubli and scored nine goals for Kickstart FC in the 2020-21 BDFA Super Division League, and eight more in the Santosh Trophy, one short of the eventual top-scorer Jesin TK.

Through their recently-concluded Youth Cup, which was held in three different age groups in Bellary, the Blues scouted two more youngsters in defenders Clarence Fernandes and Felixson Fernandes.

While Clarence turned out for Dempo SC U18s, 19-year-old Felixson was in action for RF Young Champs and also played in the RF Development League, helping his side to a fifth-place finish. He has previously represented the youth teams at Churchill Brothers and FC Goa.

While the Blue Colts are off to England to take part in the Premier League Next Gen Cup by way of winning the RF Development League earlier this year, Bengaluru FC’s first team are set to regroup for pre-season later this month, ahead of the 131st edition of the Durand Cup.

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