Minerva Punjab FC’s coach Khogen Singh has disclosed that in the initial stage of the I-League, the team didn’t think about the title and their aim was to get into the top four of the table. Minerva Punjab FC became the new I-League champion after beating Churchill Brothers on Thursday.
The Punjab based club was founded in 2005 and last year, the team was fighting a relegation battle and finally ended the season in 9th place and escaped from the relegation because they were one of the new contestants. Minerva Punjab’s coach Khogen Singh, who joined the club in July 2017, claimed that this season, they thought of offering a good performance but they were not confident for the title.
“Our aim was to get into the top 4. We had good 2-3 months of pre-season and were confident of doing well but winning the title was not our aim when we started, we started hoping for it only after the first seven-eight games,” the coach said as quoted by News18.
One of the main reasons behind the success of the club has been the smart decision on players’ recruitment including the foreign footballers who played an integral role in the team. Bhutanese Chencho Gyeltshen became the star player of the Punjab based side as he finished with seven goals and was the top scorer for the club. Apart from him, Ivorian defender Eric Dano and midfielder Kassim Aidara were the main influencers, featuring 17 games each.
“We wanted hard working players and we developed our game style with time,” says Khogen.
The coach and players worked on their approach and went with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 system throughout the season which meant that they kept things tight in the middle which eventually helped the side. In the final game of the I-League season, William Opoku, who moved to Minerva from Middlesborough, was the man who scored the winning goal against Churchill Brothers.
“We worked extra hard in training and were fighting for everything. There was no such pressure as we believed in ourselves. I am now looking forward to the Super Cup,” the Ghana player said.