The India international shot-stopper opens up on a number of subjects in this freewheeling chat in association with Red Bull.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has proved himself to be one of the fastest growing talents in the country with his scintillating work in and outside of Indian Football over the years. Ever since making his mark at East Bengal, the sky’s been the limit for the 6’4″ goalkeeper who has rapidly progressed his game in the last decade or so. Sandhu showed his potential with a prolific outing at Norwegian club Stabaek, in which he became the first Indian player to participate in the UEFA Europa League.

Sandhu would later show an impressive sense of patriotism when he joined Bengaluru FC last season, proving to be a huge coup for the Blues. He went onto have a great debut season with them, reaching the final in their inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) season as well as winning the first ever Super Cup. The goalkeeper wrapped up an impressive season with an excellent outing in the Intercontinental Cup, in which he made some stunning saves, especially excelling in the final.

Sandhu had a magnificent year donning the Bengaluru FC and India colours

As the season has ended for the towering goalkeeper, Khel Now got the opportunity to chat exclusively with him.  Sandhu seemed chuffed at his performances in the Intercontinental Cup and had some positive comments when asked about his thoughts as he said, “The team as a whole performed very well in the Intercontinental Cup. This tournament helped us a great deal in preparing for the Asian Cup in January next year. We did very well here and we are confident, but we cannot afford to be complacent.”

He continued, “I had a great tournament as well personally, thanks to my teammates. Huge credit also goes to the coaching staff of the national team as well as at my ISL club Bengaluru FC.”

Sandhu was also delighted with the fan support in the tournament and wants such buoyant support to continue for India. He said, “The fans were like the twelveth man for us. It was great to see the fans come and cheer for us in all the games we played. They were constantly chanting our names and it really motivated us.”

Captain Sunil Chhetri also made history in the Intercontinental Cup by equalling Lionel Messi’s record of 64 international goals. Sandhu had heaps of praise for his skipper and said, “Sunil Chhetri is an Indian football legend. The things he has done for Indian football are unmatchable. He has been a big game player for us and equaling Messi’s record is an outstanding achievement. He is an inspiration to all the young players in the country. A true role model and a great captain and leader, both on and off the pitch.”

Sandhu has been a Red Bull athlete since December 2017 (Courtesy: Red Bull)

Sandhu has also been a Red Bull athlete for some time now. He seems to be really happy with his partnership with the company and speaking on it he said, “My partnership with Red Bull began in December 2017. I have been a Red Bull athlete since. Associating with Red Bull was important to me. As an athlete, you want things around you that push you and try to make you better – people who want the best for you.”

He continued, “Red Bull is one of them and I’m very glad to be partners with them. I make it a habit of consuming a can of Red Bull while training or before the game. It helps keep me going and focus on the game better.”

Sandhu also had kind words for Red Bull’s Neymar Jr Five Tournament and said, “Also, it is great to see how Red Bull have invested in the development of football in India with tournaments like Neymar Jr’s Five. It gives young players a chance to pursue their dream of playing football and play against the best 5-a-side players in the world with the chance of meeting Neymar Jr.”

With the FIFA World Cup going on right now, Gurpreet seems as excited as any fan regarding the mega-event as he said, “The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It is tough to predict a winner as all the teams have fought hard to qualify for the tournament and have really good players. I am looking forward to witnessing some amazing games and wish the best team wins.”


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Not only is he a fan, but Sandhu is also a Hindi Pundit for Sony for the World Cup. He seems to be having a great time doing TV work as he stated, “Great experience being a Hindi pundit for Sony with Sunil Chhetri. It is a hectic one too. One needs to read up extensively before each game. In the first round of matches, it is difficult to predict. Now, we have a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each team.”

As a goalkeeper himself, Sandhu probably wants the top goalkeepers to shine at the World Cup and had some interesting comments about which record he wants to see being broken. He said, “I think Tim Howard’s record of 15 saves in one match is a record I would like to see broken. Keepers take pride in the number of saves they make in a game.”

“Great goalkeepers are always judged by the number of saves or clean-sheets they have in the game. To make 15 saves in a match is simply extraordinary and with so many attacking teams in the World Cup, I see the keepers getting tested quite often.”

He also gave his thoughts on who could be the eventual winners of the tournament and said, “I think there are 4-5 teams who can lift the World Cup. Stating a clear favorite is really difficult as there are so many quality teams. Germany, France, Spain, Brazil look really strong, while Belgium and Argentina can be the dark-horses of the tournament.”

Sandhu was also enthusiastic about Rino Anto’s return to Bengaluru (Courtesy: Red Bull)

Coming back to Indian football, Sandhu seems to be pleased to have Rino Anto back at Bengaluru next season. Speaking about the right-back he said, “It is great to have Rino back at the club. I think it is an excellent signing for us as he brings the invaluable experience of playing in the ISL. He had a good season with Kerala Blasters last time around. He also knows Bengaluru FC well having played for us for four seasons.”

The India #1 also seems to be excited at the thought of playing Saudi Arabia later this year in preparation for the Asian Cup. He said, “It would be a great experience for us to play against a team who are playing in the World Cup. They also have an attacking manager so we will have to be wary about that. Overall it will be a great learning experience for us.”

Finally, Sandhu gave his thoughts on the ELO Ratings introduced by FIFA and had some interesting comments on how it could impact the Indian team. He said, “We can’t do anything about the rankings. Even before I said, and I still say that, do not pay much attention to the rankings because the rankings don’t define how good or bad a team is.”