Patel said there has been a turnaround in the fortunes of Patel said there has been a turnaround in the fortunes of Indian football and this can be attributed to the emphasis placed on youth scouting, and the investment flowing into sectors such as grassroots development, infrastructure building and refurbishment. “There has been intense focus on these areas by the AIFF helped by the AFC. Corporates have started putting money into football over the last few years and this is starting to pay dividends,” he said. “The prime example is the historic run of three-year-old club Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup and the global appeal of the Indian Super League. Winning the Under-17 World Cup hosting rights has sparked the interest of the Indian government in the development of the sport. “Bengalurus historic feat of finishing as runner up in the AFC Cup and the fighting display of our Under-16 national team against traditional Asian powerhouses Saudi Arabia and UAE in Septembers AFC Under-16 Championships in Goa have illustrated that Indian football has begun to find its feet again,” said Patel. He said he was impressed by the passionate support shown by Indian expatriate community of Doha to Bengaluru FC during the AFC Cup final. “We believe Qatar are our natural partners in Asian football family and the AFC Cup final has illustrated this. Qatar has identified its Indian community as an important stakeholder of 2022 World Cup and more than 5,000 Indian expats were at the stadium to cheer Bengaluru FCs historic feat proving they are emotional stakeholders in Indian football as well.” PTI PDS PDSadvertisement
SAINTS boss Royce Simmons spoke about his side’s professionalism after the 30-16 win over Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.“You are always happy after a win… you are happy for about 24 hours and then it starts again,” he said. “I was happy with the attitude of the players, the week was very positive, it was a very enjoyable week and the boys brought a lot of energy to training and trained really well. Our ball control was very good, we were patient and our defence was super.“We didn’t let last week get us down, we have been very professional and handled the situation well.”Simmons was particularly happy with the form of Jonny Lomax and Lee Gaskell, who ran the match from the half back berths.“Jonny did really really well. He only did two training sessions with us because he was away with the English Knights. I was sitting with him on Tuesday night having a coffee saying can ‘you do this can you do that’ and explaining things to him.“I said I’ll make it really easy for you and just let you play this role and he said ‘no Royce I want to keep playing the way the halves have been playing, I want to keep that responsibility’.“He handled himself very professionally and he’s a boy with a very big future. He’s played full back, left centre and has now played in the halves… and besides all that he is a good young kid too.”Saints next match is this Friday when they host Bradford Bulls – tickets are now on sale from Saints Town Centre store, by calling 01744 455 052 or logging on to the Saints Superstore.