Reliance Foundation Development League is the ultimate scouting platform for young players in Indian football says Thangboi Singto, Hyderabad FC Head Coach

Hyderabad FC head coach, Thangboi Singto, hailed the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) as the premier scouting ground for budding football players in India.
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(More-om-sports) Hyderabad FC head coach, Thangboi Singto, hailed the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) as the premier scouting ground for budding football players in India. As the 2023-24 season’s National Championship kicked off in Mumbai on May 14, Singto commended the league’s facilities and the high-calibre players it attracts. 

Punjab FC and East Bengal FC emerged victorious in their respective semi-final clashes, securing a spot in the championship showdown at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) on May 18. The two other semi-finalists, i.e. Bengaluru FC and Muthoot FA will face off in the third-place playoff at RCP on May 17.

Singto, who observed the matches firsthand at the RCP, emphasized the RFDL’s significance as a talent pool for scouts across Indian football. He praised the league for providing a platform for promising young talents to showcase their skills and earn recognition

At the moment, the scouting network in India has improved a lot. Now every club has analysts a head of youth who have good connections, who send their scouts to spot players, and the best young players in the country are playing in the RFDL.

What else would be a better place to scout the best players? From the beginning of the RFDL itself, a lot of scouts have been tracking players. This semi-final and the final is a great opportunity for the players because of the exposure it gives them. It’s an excellent platform for the young players in India,” the tactician said.

As head coach of an Indian Super League (ISL) team, Singto acknowledged the challenge of selecting the best XI for each match. However, he noted that strong performances in the RFDL could open doors for young players to progress to the senior team. Singto emphasized the league’s role in encouraging youngsters to strive for excellence and seize opportunities to advance their careers.

“RFDL is very helpful as a coach to keep track of the form and fitness of our players. In professional football, you have to pick the best XI and for the young players, it becomes a challenging situation irrespective of their talent.

If we have a tournament like the RFDL, we can encourage them to do well here, and then tell them that, they can have greater chances to prove their mettle in the first-team. For the boys, it’s another competition, and it helps sharpen and develop them through Reliance Foundation both physically and mentally,” he said.

“RFDL encourages youngsters to take the step up to the first-team”

Singto emphasized a fair bit on the enhanced playing time that has come the way of youngsters because of the RFDL. This year, the tournament started in February, and teams that made it to the National Championship have already played 14-odd games before the semi-finals.

The Hyderabad FC head coach touched upon the overall contributions of Reliance Foundation towards growing Indian football, saying that initiatives like the RFDL go a long way in nurturing and harnessing a robust footballing ecosystem that can help the game scale greater heights.

“Punjab FC showed great maturity against Bengaluru FC”

Punjab FC and their progress into the final drew a lot of praise from the Hyderabad FC head coach. He hailed their maturity and the assurance with which the Sankarlal Chakraborty-coached side went about their business. Punjab FC were up against the two-time defending champions Bengaluru FC in the last-four clash.

Their goalless draw was followed with the penalty shootout in which Punjab FC edged past the Blues by a 4-2 margin. Singto explained that the presence of players with ISL experience such as Amarjit Singh Kiyam in the Punjab FC ranks helped them outclass Bengaluru FC.

“It was a match between two contrasting teams. Bengaluru FC have won a lot of laurels in Indian football, whereas Punjab FC are a bit of a newbie in the top-tier. But, I could see some maturity in the players of Punjab FC, as they had a few ones who have already played in the ISL.

Those boys proved it, like Amarjit Singh Kiyam, who has been the former India U-17 captain. But, credit to Bengaluru FC, with a coach who has proven himself with the junior teams of Indian football, i.e. Bibiano. Bengaluru FC stood the ground very well. Today we witnessed a game of good quality,” Singto said.

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