By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay,
AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: As India gear up to host the first-ever FIFA tournament in Football history, Minerva Punjab FC are all set to add another feather to its hat today when their U-20 team will rub their shoulders with the Colombia U-17 team in a preparatory match today (September 27, 2017) before the biennial FIFA tournament kicks off on October 6, 2017.
Meanwhile, Colombia are clubbed with hosts India in Group A and none but the Indian gaffer Luis Norton de Matos himself has tagged the Latin American outfit as ‘one serious title contender.’
Minerva Punjab FC, who have hogged the limelight time and again for nurturing the young talents are the current U-15 Youth League champion and the club owner Ranjit Bajaj termed this opportunity as one which ‘only comes along once in a lifetime’.
“It’s an amazing honour for our humble club which will have the unique opportunity of playing against one of the best sides U-17 side in the world. The excitement levels among the players are high, and they are eager to show the world that they can hold their own against the title contenders for the World Cup”, Bajaj mentioned.
“This match will forever be etched in the history books as one of the biggest matches played by Minerva Punjab FC. It’s like we have been given the chance to play in the World Cup!!”, Bajaj, an outright football aficionado, couldn’t hold back his emotions.
On being asked whether Minerva Punjab FC will take the pride of representing the entire nation against Colombia tonight, he exuded, “Yes we are representing the nation and it is important for us to make sure that we do not disappoint ourselves. We’ll go out with a positive but cautious approach and try to come away with a respectable result.”
“We are one of the only clubs to wear the tricolour in our club jerseys and we feel we will be representing India before the World Cup actually begins. Everyone will be watching us since India will lock their horns with Colombia in the World Cup a few days later”, Bajaj stated.
Meanwhile, Ranjit Bajaj, who has been very vocal about honing the Indian talents, sees this opportunity as ‘the most amazing pre-season international training right here at home’.
“It’s no secret that Minerva Punjab FC believes in fielding a young side in the I-League and last season we were the team with the highest number of U-22 players. Players like Krishna, Moinuddin, Kamalpreet, Arshdeep and other new recruits Vanlalremkima and Rahul Das who are all U-20 players will get the most amazing pre-season international training right here at home”, Bajaj informed.
The preparatory match is scheduled to kick-off at the Heritage College Grounds, Gurgaon at 06:00 PM today (September 27, 2017).