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Rahman hopes to groom quality footballers in Telangana

Big dreams: Rahman monitoring the selections for the State team at the Gymkhana on Monday.

Big dreams: Rahman monitoring the selections for the State team at the Gymkhana on Monday.
| Photo Credit: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The beaming faces said it all at Gymkhana Ground in Secunderabad here!

A record turn-out of about 300 young footballers turning up for the State under-17 squad selection at Gymkhana Ground was not just the kind of response the Telangana Football Association (TFA) officials were expecting.

With Sheikh Khaleel Rahman, who represented the united Andhra Pradesh seven times in the Santosh Trophy, being the head coach, TFA secretary G. Palguna is hoping for the much-awaited turn-around in his team’s dream to put in place quality footballers in the next couple of years.

“In fact, all these boys are only from the twin cities. We have the selections for the district boys soon. At the end of it all, we will be pruning the genuinely talented to about 40 to 50 and give them long-term coaching with the first target being the Junior nationals in Sambalpur (MP) next month,” Rahman informed The Hindu.

“Most of the boys are inspired by the success story of Hyderabad FC in the ISL and also the fact that the City now boasts about 20 academies,” said Rahman, taking time off a hectic schedule for the last three days.

“These boys have been split into teams identifying each of them position-wise and making them play matches to test their skills. There is no doubt about the abundance of talent. They only lack match practice,” said Rahman, the Deputy Manager in SBI.

“Exactly for this reason, TFA is now roping in the Football Academies to start under-15 and 17 leagues soon to prepare teams for the National leagues. This, we feel, will ensure an assembly line of quality players if they are given the kind of desired exposure,” the former midfielder said.

The selection panel of P. Acharjee, Zakir Hussain, Vincent Paul, Noorul Ahmed (all AFC license holders) and Akbar Abedi monitoring the selections under the supervision of Rahman and the TAF top officials, there is hope of genuine talent being given the chance to dream big.

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