RFDL is an eye-opener for Indian head coaches: Bengaluru FC's Naushad Moosa

As much as the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) is an eye-opener for the emerging players of the country, it is a platform for Indian coaches to test the waters and see where they stand, feels Bengaluru FC reserve team head coach Naushad Moosa.

Among the eight teams taking part in the inaugural RFDL, seven have Indian coaches with Kerala Blasters FC's Polish head coach Tomasz Tchorz being the only foreign coach in the league

"This is a huge learning for me. I feel this is a platform where Indian coaches can test themselves and see where they stand," Moosa said.

The 50-year-old joined Bengaluru FC in 2017 and since then has been with the first team as an assistant coach, also looking after the reserve team.

"Indian coaches can prove their mettle here. We have all Indian players to work with and as much as it is an eye-opener for them, to be competing at this level and playing against good players, it is for us coaches as well. Trying to develop a winning mentality and helping them tackle pressure situations," said Moosa, who took charge of the Blues on an interim basis during the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 campaign and was assistant coach to Marco Pezzaiuoli last season.

"Here I can gauge how my boys can handle pressure. The first thing any foreign coach asks is how a player handles pressure and how is his decision making. Such tournaments help in that cause," he added.

Moosa felt till two years back, the U-21 boys at Bengaluru FC did not get the right kind of exposure, playing against top-quality opponents.

"When you work with a reserve squad, you need to bring that winning mentality into them. This is the next step for them to get into the senior team and there the coach wants them to win all the games.

"So they need to have that winning mentality, learn how to handle pressure. This tournament will be an eye-opener for the boys, as they will learn how to handle pressure and develop that mentality," he said. 

Moosa also hailed the competitive nature of the RFDL and felt it will help improve the players.

"The level of teams here is very high. For example, FC Goa even though they are losing, they understand the philosophy of the club. Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, and Kerala also have strong teams. So it shows how much this tournament benefits.

"Here all teams are competitive and all have good players. Two years back, when I was playing with second division teams also, my U-18s were beating them. But this level is totally different, and I am learning," said Moosa who guided the Blue Colts to back-to-back BDFA Super Division League title wins in 2019 and 2020.

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