"RFDL gives fantastic opportunity to players to seize more playing time, display their skills in competitive matches": Sandesh Jhingan

Feb 12, 2024

Mumbai (Maharastra) [India], February 12 : The Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) is set to kick off its third season on February 14 with the first match in Mizoram.
This youth football extravaganza has become a breeding ground for emerging talent, offering a crucial platform for players to shine and catch the eyes of top-tier clubs.
"The RFDL helps us keep a close watch on prospects, especially from the reserve teams of all the clubs, and it eases their transition to the first team. It gives us an opportunity to scout talent from a widespread pool of players from clubs across the country. Young talents get a chance to be nurtured by coaches through the competition, and it not only helps us reinforce our squads at the senior level but also enables the creation of a sustainable footballing ecosystem in India," said East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat in an official statement.

"RFDL gives a fantastic opportunity to players to seize more playing time and display their skills in competitive matches. Young talents have shined in the competition lately and the enhancements of opportunities play a part in the overall development and competitiveness of Indian football. By showcasing their potential in a tournament like this, young aspiring footballers across the country are inspired and encouraged to follow their dreams with similar passion and dedication," said India international and FC Goa defender Sandesh Jhingan.
RFDL 2024 Overview:
* 55+ teams participating across eight zones in India.
* Zones: Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, South, North, East, Meghalaya - Assam, and Mizoram.
* Includes clubs from ISL, I-League, I-League 2nd Division, and State Football Associations.
The 55-plus teams will participate across eight zones in India. The eight zones are Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, South, North, East, Meghalaya - Assam, and Mizoram including clubs from ISL, I-League, I-League 2nd Division, and State Football Associations.
While more than 45 players from the Development League have stepped into play ISL, standout names from the current season of ISL are Mohammed Aimen, Mohammed Azhar, Vibin Mohanan, Nitesh Darjee, Nikhil Barla and Nikhil Prabhu.
League Format:
* Divided into three phases: Regional Qualifiers, National Group Stage, and National Championship.
* Around 300+ matches planned.
In the National Championship, the 20 sides from pan India progress to the National Group Stage across 40 games with the winners from each group booking their spot for National Championship. The National Championship involves two semi-finals, a third-place playoff, and the summit clash.
Players born on or after January 1, 2003 will be eligible to participate in the league. Each team has been granted permission to include up to five players born on or after January 1, 2001, in their matchday squads. No more than three such players will be permitted to be part of the playing XI at any time. Participants cannot be younger than 14 years and 364 days at the time of their registration for the tournament.
RFDL is part of Reliance Foundation's continued commitment towards supporting young footballers in India to evolve their skills by providing them with more opportunities, world-class infrastructure, sports science expertise and coaching, contributing to the growth of Indian football sports.
Now in its third season, (RFDL) is designed to be a platform for the top U-21 football players to showcase their talent in a highly competitive environment. The tournament is India's largest and most inclusive U-21 youth tournament comprising over 50 teams across 9 regions in India from Hero Indian Super League, I-League division I&II and Independent Academies / Clubs nominated by the State Football Associations. With the eyes of academy coaches and scouts from both within the country and abroad, RFDL serves as the ideal platform that they can thrive upon to give wings to their fledging careers moving forward.