Indian Super League outfits Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC will partake in the upcoming Next Gen cup which will be held in the UK later next month. The participation of the two teams comes after both of them came out as the top two sides in the inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League.
The RFDL involved a total of eight sides, seven ISL clubs and the Reliance Foundation Young Champs, who battled it out to book a flight to the coveted youth tournament ready to take place in the UK. At the end of the league, Bengaluru FC came out as victors as the tournament's 'invincibles' as Kerala ended the competition as runners-up.
The golden opportunity of rubbing shoulders with some of England's finest youth comes from the Premier League's long-standing strategic partnership with the Indian Super League ever since its inception. This tournament will not only provide a global platform for India's youth to experience club football at the highest level but also allow the footballing environment to grow in and around the sub-continent.
Two years ago, the same tournament was held in Mumbai where the Reliance youth champs were the talk of the town after beating footballing stalwarts Southampton FC and Manchester United FC. This was a great boost for Indian football, and this time, with the age limit assumed to be increased, the stakes will even be higher.
The cup is set to commence on July 26 with the Indian sides flying out on the 22nd of July. It remains to be seen the players the clubs send for the cup as a lot depends on the age restrictions. We might even see some familiar faces put on their boots on foreign soil if the qualifications allow.