Hyderabad FC co-owner Tripuraneni remains big on partnership with Borussia Dortmund, hopes his team keeps up the good work

With Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) side Hyderabad FC’s partnership with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund (also known as BVB) nearing its first anniversary, co-owner Varun Tripuraneni believes that the tie-up continues to have the potential to benefit footballers at the Telangana-based club, though admitting at the same time that the Coronavirus pandemic did get in the way of the results they had desired. “We have just completed a year [made official in August 2020] and it's a long way to go. It's been tough [due to the Coronavirus pandemic]. We only got to see what we can do with some online coaching sessions and things like that until travel opens up for coaches from BVB to travel,” he told Goal.

"There is a certain spirit in the partnership and we are looking to engage from time to time to make it interesting for the fans. It will be a bit slow till things ease out a bit."

Despite the big, unforeseen hiccup, Hyderabad FC, under Manuel Marquez, managed to catch the eye during the 2020-21 season as they narrowly missed out on the semi-finals. Their emphasis on developing local talents wasn’t lost on anyone who followed the league from start to finish. Many Hyderabad FC players have since gone on to make their debut for the national team and that’s big testimony to the club’s vision. "For us, it's just been one year and we had six players in the national team but we don't want it to be a one-off season. So, we want to focus on development at the club very seriously,” Tripuraneni said.

Suresh Letchmanan, managing director at BVB Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, too believes the partnership will prove beneficial to Hyderabad FC in the long run. "There is a lot planned for the future but we have to look at it organically. We have to know what is realistic. But rest assured, there is a lot to do. We are waiting to come to India when the situation is back to normal," he said.

He drew up the plans for the future. "The focus is on the objectives to be met. One is to have BVB coaches in India to share the philosophy and give an understanding of our youth system that is something that has to be done on the ground. Secondly for the Hyderabad team coming over to Dortmund and witnessing how the BVB team works, understand the youth teams which train pretty close to the first team.

"Thirdly, fan engagement. We miss that, to see the yellow wall in the stadium. We need to share and tell this story. Hopefully HFC can replicate a yellow wall at their stadium. Finally, the most valuable players from the youth setups. We will identify some talents when we run the sessions in India and they will get a chance to train at Dortmund," he elaborated.

On the possibility of an extension to the two-year tie-up, Letchmanan said, "We don't necessarily go out there and say that our contract is for two years and there is a possibility for a plus one. If we are enjoying the partnership and if we go along in fulfilling our objectives, why can't it be a longer partnership? It's unfair to say that success can be achieved within 24 or 36 months. It's a process and we have to go along with it in good faith.”

Benedikt Scholz, head of International Commercial/New Business & Managing Director at the BVB Football Academy, also explained in detail as to what all Hyderabad FC can learn from their German counterparts. "We were hit by a financial crisis in 2005-2006. We were not able to buy stars and build them on our own. We really focussed on building young talent and making them Bundesliga and even international stars," Scholz said.

"We are pretty confident that we have certain expertise in this sector and also have continuity of staff. We have proven to do that and players like [Giovanni] Reyna, [Youssoufa] Moukoko and [Erling] Haaland are an expression of that.

"We would never say that you can copy what we are doing here. But we can share what we have done that could be beneficial. Our doors for Hyderabad are open and we are happy to understand the Indian football structure as well," he added.

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