Bengaluru FC’s reserve team defeated AFC Wimbledon U18s 3-1 win in a friendly match in the run-up to the Next Generation Cup, 2022 in the United Kingdom.
Reserve team coach Naushad Moosa, who was delighted to get an opportunity to face a foreign team, let alone beat them in their own backyard, thanked the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) and the Premier League for the exposure.
“This is something great that Reliance and FSDL have done. This partnership will really help. I could hear the players speaking that there might be some scouts, and we can get a bigger opportunity. So, this is something that goes into a player’s mind and they might want to give a better performance at least thinking that they might get an opportunity. So this is something which is really nice. I feel this partnership between FSDL and the Premier League should go a long way,” Moosa said.
The Next Generation Cup, 2022 features Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC along with five Premier League academy teams and one team from South Africa.
Bengaluru won the inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) – which was the qualification platform for the international tournament, earlier this year.
“When we went for the RFDL, I told the boys to go there and enjoy the football. It was not that we were going on a vacation, we had a purpose. That really worked for us. And that’s the reason we are here now. I would like to thank FSDL and even the Premier League for giving us this great opportunity. It’s a very big platform for these boys to come and perform here,” Moosa added.
Apart from the tournament, the Premier League and FSDL works together in a host of knowledge sharing activities for the holistic development of Indian football. Moosa remarked that the partnership is helping young Indians to take up football and aspire to potentially one day play in the Next Generation Cup.
“Now, my son is in the Bengaluru U12s team. When I showed him that we came here and went to Wembley, he was so excited. He was saying that I also want to be here. So this is something for the youngsters to look upon and work harder to be here. And it’s not only for Bengaluru but most of the clubs in the country, it will really help them to perform and get better. I am sure that the level of football will go higher,” he said.
Bengaluru had to come from a goal down to beat AFC Wimbledon in a match that Moosa terms as ‘not easy’. “It was the first match for me and the boys against a foreign team. It was only in the second half I could read the opponent, how they play and what their formation is. So during halftime, we gave them instructions in the dressing room on how to go about in the second half. We were successful in that,” Moosa revealed.
Now, Bengaluru face former Premier League champions Leicester City FC’s academy team on Wednesday.