Bengaluru FC Head Coach Simon Grayson hailed the Reliance Foundation Developmental League (RFDL) as an ideal opportunity for coaches to assess players who can rise up the ranks and make it to the senior squads of their respective clubs. The finals of the second season of the RFDL will be held at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) in Navi Mumbai at 7 pm on Sunday. The Blues made it to the upcoming title-winning clash of RFDL after defeating ATK Mohun Bagan in a tense penalty shootout on Thursday.

Huidrom Thoi Singh, Bengaluru’s 19-year-old midfielder, got on the scoresheet in the semi-final and has been making waves in the tournament so far. He smashed a hat-trick in the National Group Stage against FC Goa as well and has hit the ground running in the National Championship straightaway as well. Interestingly, Thoi trained and travelled with the Bengaluru senior squad in the previous season of the Indian Super League (ISL) as well.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for younger players to get more game-time, more experience, working with good coaches, and playing competitive matches. It gives opportunities to some of the younger players in the I-League teams, state football association (SFA) clubs to test themselves along with the Hero ISL clubs and also to some of the younger players who are thriving and striving to be professional players in the Hero ISL over the coming years,” Grayson said on the eve of the RFDL final.

Bengaluru’s young forward Sivasakhti Narayanan scored six goals and notched three assists in the team’s run to the finals of ISL 2022-23. He won the ISL Emerging Player of the Year award and the player was actually a part of the BFC squad that won the inaugural season of the RFDL last year. Grayson cited his example, along with that of defender Naorem Roshan Singh and Namgyal Bhutia to encourage players make the move up to the first-team by showcasing their skills and proving their mettle in the RFDL.

“With the RFDL, it is also an opportunity for the head coach to see, maybe, who we can bring through the ranks, train with the first-team, give them some experience. In the last few years at BFC, we have seen Sivasakhti Narayanan, Naorem Roshan Singh and Namgyal Bhutia come through the league into the first-team squad and then star in the ISL,” Grayson signed off.