The Reliance Foundation Young Champs have fielded the youngest squad in the competition.
In their continuing efforts to develop a ‘principle of play’ for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC), a competition like the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) with some of the best in the business will only help draw a clear pathway for the country’s finest emerging talents, feels Arata Izumi.
Former India international Arata is the head coach of the RF Young Champs side competing in the ongoing RFDL, his charges being the youngest squad in the first-of-its-kind league for U-21s and five U-23s.
“Our approach is always about individual development. That is why we have a specific principle of play. We want the boys to develop their understanding of football,” he said in a freewheeling interview.
“Once we came to know about RFDL and it’s happening at this time of the season, we started to think how we can, as a team, go into it and what style we want our boys to play in line with the principle we coached already,” said the 39-year old who has been capped nine times for the Indian national team.
Shedding further light on the style of play promoted at this age category, he said: “It’s more like the principle of the game. The individual players, if they understand the principle of play in moments of the game, I believe they can fit into any style of play. Different coaches have different philosophies and our boys will be able to adjust. They will understand the coaches’ demand.”
Arata Izumi said the RFDL has come at the right time for the batch, coming to the end of their football education cycle at the academy after spending more than 5 years. He opined that not only the players, but their parents also can see a clear pathway for their children to get a fair chance to become professional footballers.
“This Development League is giving, the best way possible, the boys’ opportunity. The scouts and coaches are here to look into the talents.
“This league will give a lot of hope to the next generation of players who really want to be professional footballers. These boys can clearly see this Development League as their target and not only the players but their parents also. They can see a clear pathway to becoming a professional football player. They will know their son is getting a fair opportunity to prove himself.”
Arata Izumi was part of a Premier League coaching workshop recently involving all coaches in the RFDL. The biggest takeaway from the league will be two teams finishing top of the tree and being able to compete at the Next Gen Cup to be hosted in the United Kingdom for the first time later this year. The Next Gen Cup will be hosted by the Premier League (PL) as part of its longstanding partnership with the ISL to support the development of football in the country.
“The Premier League webinar was so detailed and insightful. The speakers are really well prepared. Whenever I participate in these webinars, I get confidence. What we are trying to do with RFYC is so in line with them,” he said.