Odisha FC Owner backs Young Players to Bring Success

Odisha FC owner Rohan Sharma will continue backing young Indian players to guide his team to glory in the Indian Super League (ISL). In an Instagram Live chat, Sharma discussed his vision for the club, the decision to shift base to Bhubaneswar, and rebuilding the squad ahead of the new season.

Sharma praised the support received from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as well as the sporting facilities that Odisha provides. “The Chief Minister and my dad had a meeting and they spoke about how they wanted to build on the sports culture in the state. They were ready to offer good centralised infrastructure. Their views on improving the culture of the sports were in line with what we wanted,” he said.

“Things changed when we moved to Odisha. Off the field this year was a great success for Odisha. We sold a lot of tickets and the fan engagement was amazing,” he added.

Confidence in Youth

The club firmly believes in building a young squad that can drive the club towards greater heights in the years to come. Most of the new signings made by Odisha FC this year are players below the age of 25.

“I’m happy with how the club has tried to promote young kids. Last year we did not have time to set up our academy at the grass-root level. But now, even though it will be hard due to COVID-19, we will move towards something like that. I would love to see some Odia kids come up through our academy,” Sharma said.

The Odisha FC owner went on to praise the loyalty and spirit of young Indian players display. “They even fight for each other and have their backs through thick and thin. If you give these players the respect, chances, and the time, they will pay you back.”

Sharma is particularly pleased with the maturity shown by some of his players at a tender age. “Both Shubham and Vinit could take up leadership roles. Shubham has a really good leadership mentality for his age. Vinit will also make a good leader and I want to see him as the captain of the national team someday. Both these players are hungry, and I would go to war with them.”

The club also has high hopes of developing a stellar women’s team having been impressed with the talent at their disposal. “We have some good women footballers and I want to do something about that. I am sure that next year there will be a women’s team who can challenge the Gokulam Kerala,” said Sharma.