Vasco: Minerva Academy Football Club will have dual objective to fulfil when they take on Dempo SC in their 2nd Division I-League match at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday afternoon. First, the Pride of Punjab will look to get back to their wining ways after being held to a goalless draw by Lonestar Kashmir FC in their last match in Srinagar. Second, they will look to do the double over Dempo SC after beating them 1-0 in the first leg at home.
And to achieve this, the 18-member Minervans have already set their foot in Goa on the 31st of December along with head coach Surinder Singh and goalkeeping coach Sandeep Singh. They have had some fitness training sessions on the beach while doing trainings to acclimatise to the Goan conditions.
Minerva Academy FC are on a golden run in the 2nd Division after notching up four straight wins followed by a draw in their last match against Kashmir FC in Srinagar. The team is also 4 points clear at the top with 13 points, Dempo SC being the closest to them at 9 points. And the best part is that, the team has already sealed a spot in the final round of the 2nd Division with still 3 matches to go. Hence the team will have nothing to loss in Goa but to show their strength and dominance in the league.
The team will still be missing midfield engine Bala Al-Hassan who is on the road to recovery while defender Arashpreet Singh is out of the team for his department duty. The good news however is the return of midfield maestro Jagpreet Singh, who will add more power to the attacking third.
“We had a good three-day in Goa to acclimatise to the conditions and like always, I am very confident. My boys are in good shape and I am looking ahead for another good match. Win or loss is a different matter but we are ready for another exciting brand of football,” said head coach Surinder Singh.
Meanwhile club director Ranjit Bajaj, who has made it a point to be present for all the matches has left for Goa today. “I don’t want to miss a single game of my team. I love to see my boys play and I want to be with the team in all ups and downs.”
Before flying to Goa, he took some time off to speak to the Club Media department expressing his happiness over how the team has been accepted by the people of Punjab and its adjoining areas.
“When we started, I knew support would come in but never expected it to be this huge. I am overwhelmed by the love and support Minerva Academy FC is getting. I have always maintained that the club is for the people and I am glad we have been accepted. We will do more to reach out and make a place in the heart of the people,” he said.
Minerva Academy FC is also organising a 12-day camp for boys between 10-20 years to give them a Taste of the I-League level lifestyle and training. The camp will begin on January 14 and will be conducted by coaches involved in Minerva’s meteoric rise to the Indian Football scenario.