After finishing second in the Delhi Senior Division League, Garhwal Heroes Football Club (GHFC) added the latest feather to their cap by winning the Himalayan Cup. GHFC won the prestigious 12-team league-cum knockout tournament organized by the Uttarakhand State Football Association (USFA), winning all the matches.  

The final match was against strong contenders Himachal FC, where the team romped to a 3-0 victory. During the group and knockout stages, Garhwal Heroes got the better of Assam Rifles, Nagaland FC, and CRPF.

The highlight was the inclusion of eleven players from Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) into the squad of twenty. The players – Lionel, Aryan, Wanshwadame, Francis, Lalremmuana, Richie, Albert, Laishram, Ravi Thapa, Ravi Kumar, and Suraj – undergo their football training at BBFS Residential Academy. 

GHFC has forged a strategic partnership with BBFS, India’s largest and most-rated grassroots football program to provide the right opportunities for young players. 

“Our senior players mentored the juniors throughout the tournament. We stayed as one unit, where everyone looked out for each other. The team played intelligently and capitalized on opportunities. The highlight was how the juniors performed. These youngsters have the potential to play at the highest level. We need to focus on grooming them and providing ample playing opportunities,” said Sunil Patwal, the Technical Director of Garhwal Heroes Football Club. 

Four BBFS Residential Academy players called up for India U-17 national camp

Out of the eleven players, four BBFS Residential Academy players – Richie Kharbani, Wanshwadame, K Lalremmuana, and Aryan Rathi were shortlisted for the U-17 Indian team camp during the tournament. They have consistently performed in the state and national leagues and came to the fore for Garhwal Heroes at the Himalayan Cup. 

A special mention to Richie, who outshined the opponents and won three ‘Man of the Match’ awards. He was the top scorer for GHFC in the Himalayan Cup, netting five goals. 

“The highlight for me was the goal I scored in the semi-final against Assam Rifles. I am proud of the way our team has played. I need to work hard and keep believing in my abilities. I learned a lot from my coaches and seniors throughout the games. The Indian team call-up is a dream come true. I wish to get selected and represent my country,” said Richie Kharbani, aged 16, a BBFS Residential Academy student. 

The boys joined the academy in 2018-19 and underwent a personalized curriculum. They participated in local, state, national, and international tournaments and played 30+ competitive matches every season. 

Introducing GHFC’s college football program

Garhwal Heroes Football Club (GHFC), the Delhi-based professional football club, started India’s first and only college football program this year. Through the college program, GHFC aims to provide opportunities for talented aspirants who wish to play professionally while pursuing an undergraduate degree of their choice. The club aims to qualify for the Indian Super League (ISL) with 60% homegrown talent by 2025. 

The program is offered in partnership with Apeejay Stya University (ASU), Gurugram. The college offers degrees in Engineering, Management, Law, Journalism, and related fields and job placements in top companies. 

“My goal is to qualify for the I-League by next year and win the youth national leagues. The step after that would be to qualify for the ISL. And we want to do it with homegrown talent. I am closely analyzing the development of our boys and working to assist them in their journey. I am proud of this team and look forward to winning more competitions with them”, said Vivek Rawat, the Head Coach of GHFC. 

Read more about GHFC College Program

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Read the last five editions from The Dugout:

#58 BBFS extends partnership with Dream Sports Foundation to support India’s budding footballers

#57 Garhwal Heroes FC clinch second spot in Delhi’s premier football league

#56 Developing next-gen Indian footballers with Vipin Anto

#55 Enjogo set to organize football trials in 100+ Indian cities

#54 Women’s Football: The next big opportunity in Indian sports

#53 Kicking off a dream with Kshitij