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I will play wherever Igor Stimac wants me to- Rahul Bheke

Written by: Neelav Chakravarti

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In an exclusive chat with Khel Now, the 2018-19 ISL winner talked about his recent national team call-up.

After a fantastic domestic football season, Rahul Bheke finally received a much-deserved call-up to India's national training camp, for the upcoming King's Cup. Present in Delhi's JLN Stadium, for the Blue Tigers' first training session under new gaffer Igor Stimac, the Bengaluru man alongwith FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes interacted with the media.

"I am very delighted to be called up to India's national camp. For me, my real work starts now. I am really looking forward to learn from a very experienced coach, and also to get into the team," said Bheke.

Watch: Rahul Bheke's interview with Khel Now

Bheke's call-up comes after he missed out on India's AFC Asian Cup squad, which turned out to be a controversial decision by former gaffer Stephen Constantine, as the 28-year-old had become a fan favourite due to his displays for Bengaluru FC.

"It was disappointing to miss out on the AFC Asian Cup squad. But it is the past, and now I am selected for the national camp. So, I really look forward to work and do well," quipped the former East Bengal man.


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Igor Stimac recently got appointed as India's head gaffer, after a long selection process, which consisted of the likes of Albert Roca. The Croatian is 1998 World Cup bronze medallist and has also managed The Vatreni in the past.

Regarding Stimac, he said, "So far, it is all good. We had a session yesterday evening, and we are looking forward to work under a very experienced coach."

Over the years, Bheke has become a very versatile defender, playing frequently as a centre-back, although he started is primarily a right-back. He said, "Although I prefer playing as a right-back, I can play as a centre-back too. I want to help my team whenever needed, and wherever my coach wants me to play, I will play there."

Anas Edathodika retired from the national team after India's AFC Asian Cup exit. The question amongst Indian football fans remains, about who will succeed the 32-year-old. Bheke is also being touted as a possible replacement due to his versatility. Regarding this, he quipped, "I have learned a lot from Anas. He was also my senior during my tenure with Mumbai FC, and he is really a good defender. I am looking forward to fill in the void left by him, and also give my best for the team."

Published: Fri May 31, 2019 12:02 PM IST

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