Bheke: ISL draft snub hurt me

Rahul Bheke was, however, lucky to earn a late call-up to the Kerala Blasters squad just before the 2015 season began. The defender emerged as a standout performer for Kerala Blasters that season, making 12 appearances in the starting line-up.

Earlier this year, the Mumbai player moved to a new-look Bengaluru FC squad.   -  Special Arrangement

Rahul Bheke was not picked at the 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) domestic player draft. He was, however, lucky to earn a late call-up to the Kerala Blasters squad just before the league began. The draft snub left him hurt. It also motivated him to show his worth when he laced up his boots.

Bheke emerged as a standout performer for Kerala Blasters that season, making 12 appearances in the starting line-up. He had proved the doubters wrong.

Rahul Bheke Trivia
Favourite teamBarcelona
Favourite playersLionel Messi, Dani Alves
Unique skillLong throw-ins



“I was very disappointed when I was not picked in the draft. I was lucky that Kerala Blasters offered me a chance, as they needed a right-back. I desperately wanted to prove that I was a good footballer. I wanted to play well and make sure that in the next edition of the ISL, a team would pick me well before the tournament begins. This goal was fulfilled, when Pune City signed me for the 2016 ISL season,” Bheke said here on Monday.

Earlier this year, the Mumbai player moved to a new-look Bengaluru FC squad. Bheke has made three appearances in the team’s AFC Cup campaign. His BFC debut was memorable, as the unit got past North Korean club, April 23 SC, in the inter-zone semifinal. The first leg of the inter-zone final, however, did not go to plan. Facing FC Istiklol in an away fixture at Tajikistan, BFC went down 0-1.

A tough task awaits the Indian club in the second leg, which will be held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.

“FC Istiklol is good on the counter-attacks. Their three main players (Artem Baranovskyi, David Mawutor and Amirbek Juraboev) who missed the
first leg are back for Wednesday’s match. It will be tough, but we are ready,” Bheke, who is competing in the AFC Cup for the first time,
said.

Bheke has featured as a centre-back for BFC, replacing an unavailable John Johnson. “I usually play as right-back, but I’m happy to play in whatever position (Head Coach) Albert Roca suggests," he said.

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