We need to have better academies and start early, says Lalengmawia Ralte after Belgium stint | Football News

MUMBAI: Starting early and improving academies is key to raising the standard of Indian football, believes Lalengmawia Ralte, who has returned from a two-week training camp with Bombay City F.C.sister club of in Belgium, Lommel SK.
The prodigious midfielder, Puglia scored his first goal for the Islanders in 2022 Durand Cup Final against Bengaluru FC.
Although Mumbai City FC ended the final on the wrong side with a 2-1 scoreline, the 21-year-old midfielder put in an exceptional display in Asia’s oldest football tournament and in the Champions League of the AFC earlier this year.
He suggested how Indian footballers can compete with foreign players.
“I think Indian players will be able to compete with or against them, but we need to have better academies. We need to start sending kids from an early age so they can follow the style of the Europeans and then we can compete with them at any level,” Ralte said in a statement.
Also known as ‘Apui’, he opened up about his time training at Lommel SK.
“Training with Lommel SK in Belgium was a good experience for me. Learning new things with European players and being on top of the game was a great experience. I gained a lot of knowledge, which is the most important for me.”
The Aizawl native described a day in the life of Lommel SK players and said: “Training starts at 10 a.m. and ends around 11.30 a.m. At 12 p.m. they have lunch and then if there’s a gym session , we have gym after lunch and later they go home.”
The training spell in Belgium at Lommel SK was an intense experience for the young midfielder as Apuia expressed how fast-paced and grueling training was at the City Football Group Islanders club.
The midfielder spoke about the main difference between training at Mumbai City FC and Lommel SK.
“Training in Belgium was quite difficult because the intensity was high compared to other countries. The main difference was the intensity but the style of training was not that different.”
“…the intensity was so high that you don’t have much time on the ball and making quick decisions is a must. I had to adapt to the speed of the game as I was playing one or two touches and made quick decisions.
“My training at Lommel SK helped me sharpen my decision-making on the pitch.”
Apuia also recalled how he fits into the team. “It wasn’t too difficult to fit into the team, but it takes time to fit in on and off the pitch. I didn’t have much difficulty fitting in though.”

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