Garhwal Heroes reach next stage of RF Developmental League!

Garhwal Heroes Football Club (GHFC), a sister organisation of Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS), fared well in the first round of the ongoing Reliance Foundation Developmental League. The team qualified for the next round alongside Sudeva Delhi FC, beating I-League winning outfit RoundGlass Punjab FC and Rajasthan United FC.

The second edition of the RFDL has kicked off with over 50 teams competing for national and international honours. The tournament is India’s most inclusive U-21 youth tournament comprising teams across nine regions in India from the Indian Super League, I-League, Second Division League, and independent academies nominated by the state football associations.

Richie Kharbani, Wanshwadame Diengdoh, Rohan Manar, Lionel Daryl Rymmei, Sunil Soren, Vishesh Kardam, Manbhakupar Malngiang, Iashanbok Buhphang are the eight players from BBFS who played an instrumental role in GHFC’s run to qualify for the upcoming round. Except for Vishesh, the seven players have been a part of the BBFS Residential Academy. Vishesh trained at one of the non-residential academies.

“I joined BBFS Residential Academy in 2019. Since then, I have evolved as a player and individual. I play as an attacking midfielder, and my coaches have supported me thoroughly throughout my developmental journey. The experience at RFDL is one of a kind. The competition is high, and we have been facing the best players in our age groups. It will help us better our game. We are focused to qualify for the international round. For now, the aim is to take one game at a time and get the desired results,” said the 17-year-old Wanshwadame.

Manbhakupar, who is 15 now, became the youngest player to score a goal in the league this year. He has been training at the Vedas International School, a BBFS Residential Academy in Delhi.

Each season, the footballers at BBFS Residential Academy play 30+ matches which includes exposure in state, national and international competitions. These games help the student-athletes gain match confidence and perform at the highest level to get noticed by professional scouts.

In the next round, Garhwal Heroes FC will face Muthoot FA (Kerala), Chanmari FC (Mizoram), and Chawnpui FC (Mizoram) in Delhi. The teams will take on each other once, and the best two will qualify for the national round in Mumbai.

“We have a strong bond amongst the players and management. Throughout the tournament, the highlight has been the unity with which we played. We want to focus on converting more chances on the attacking third in the next round. Overall, I am happy with our boys and want them to enjoy the games and gain the best experience,” quipped Dharmendra Singh, the Head Coach of the U-21 Garhwal Heroes FC side.

The matches will resume on April 21 at the Civil Lines Ground in Delhi. The teams that qualify for the final round will travel to Mumbai. The top four teams from RFDL will qualify to take on selected Premier League clubs and South Africa’s PSL youth teams in the annual Premier League Next Generation, in joint collaboration with Reliance Foundation, to be played later this year. The exposure and competitiveness of the Next Generation Cup are aimed at developing elite youth football talent in India.

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