Hyderabad FC gear up for inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League

HFC’s young team excited for a new challenge

Goa: After a strong campaign in the CEM Gold Cup, the Hyderabad FC reserve team waited patiently on the sidelines watching the senior team attain glory in the Indian Super League. But they are now back in action in the Reliance Foundation Development League set to kick off on Friday.

The youngsters previously bowed out of the group stage of the Durand Cup and also the IFA Shield earlier in the season. In spite of the disappointment, every member of the squad put in some heartful performances and impressed in the chances they got.

The Hyderabad FC reserve side were the runners-up of the CEM Gold Cup 2022 in Assam, and are now ready to test themselves in the RFDL to be held in Goa.

Reserve Team Head Coach Shameel Chembakath believes that his side are focused and up for it. “We had a wonderful season so far with plenty of game time for the youngsters but the RFDL will be a real challenge for the boys.”

“It will help them build confidence, and gives them a chance to showcase their talent. I truly believe that the boys will put strong efforts to produce some good performances during the campaign,” he added.

The Hyderabad reserve side has plenty of promising talent to look out for in this tournament. Mark Zothanpuia, Abdul Rabeeh, Lalbiakhlua Jongte and Amritpal Singh were all a part of the senior side in the recently concluded ISL season. Shameel’s side also has other exciting youngsters that have already caught the eye in the previous tournaments, and have proven to have quality in their ranks.

The RFDL will be the fourth tournament the HFC reserves will be playing this season but this is the first time they will face sides from the Indian Super League throughout the campaign.

It will be a tough test for the youngsters, but they are ready for it, believes Shameel Chembakath. “The preparations have been in full swing so far. We are working with the same structure and the same principles since the beginning, and it has been working well.”

“We demand a high level of commitment, intensity, and attitude from our players, and we are positive that we can make a productive start,” added the Head Coach.

Speaking ahead of their opening game in the RFDL, Shameel also revealed that the mood in the camp is positive and that they believe they can beat the best in the competition. “We have almost the same squad when we started the pre-season and each and every one of them is in great shape at the moment.”

“We also have a few players who joined us from the first team which keeps us all in a positive frame of mind and makes our team stronger,” Coach Shameel added.

The Reliance Foundation Development League is set to be held from April 15 to May 12 in the two venues at Nagoa and Benaulim. HFC open their campaign on April 16 against Kerala Blasters with the kick-off scheduled at 8:00 am.


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