Puneri Paltan raider Manjeet has mentioned that his tackle points and good work in the team’s defence make him and team coach Anup Kumar happy. The youngster had also added that the two back-to-back wins, after three losses in the ongoing season, will boost the team’s morale.
After losing to Haryana Steelers, U Mumba and Bengal Warriors in their first three games of the seventh season of the league, the Paltan are now back on track with two consecutive wins in the Patna leg. They first defeated Patna Pirates 41-20 and in the next game, they managed to get the better of the runners-up side from the last season Gujarat Fortunegiants 33-31.
In both the matches, it was their young raider Manjeet who put up a great show in both raiding and defence. He got three and four tackle points respectively against Patna and Gujarat and has now a total of 12 tackle points from five games. In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, he said that he has worked on his defence and want to contribute to the team.
“I have worked on my defence and am hopeful of doing well in raiding department going forward in the tournament. I am not the main defender but when I catch hold of a raider then it makes me and our coach very happy,” Manjeet told SportsCafe.
“After winning two matches, I am feeling really good. After the first three losses, our morale was down and now with the wins the team is happy and our confidence level is improved.”
In the raiding department, the Paltan is missing the services of their primary raider Nitin Tomar and that is the reason why Manjeet, Pawan Kadian, Pankaj Mohite and others are taking up more responsibility for the raids. Manjeet has 10 raid points so far in the season and expects Tomar to be back on the mat soon which will be of great help for the side.
“We were under pressure because our star player Nitin Tomar was not there due to injury but he will be back in the next match which will definitely help us,” the youngster explained.
This is the first season for legendary player Anup Kumar as a coach in the league and Manjeet is happy to have the star raider as their coach. Speaking about the chief coach, who remains calm and composed even during tensed situations of the game, the raider said, “Anup Sir is a very good coach and he has played for India. He is a legendary player and teaches us like we are his children and we learn a lot from him.
“His speciality was bonus and toe touch when he was a player but now that he is the coach he focuses on everything. He also takes care of the players individually and trains them as per their requirement.”
It was a sweet return to Patna for Manjeet as after playing for the team from Bihar in the last edition, Manjeet took Paltan to their first win of the season against the Pirates. Manjeet had got a lot of love and applause while playing for the three-time champions and this time he was delighted to contribute for the Paltan’s cause in the win against the home side.
“I was with Patna in the previous season and played with players like Pradeep and Jaideep and when I stopped Pradeep in defence, I felt very happy. We were very happy with the first win in the tournament. Playing with Patna in the previous season did help me against them. Pardeep was off the mat for a long time which worked well for us,” the 23-year-old mentioned.
With two consecutive wins, Puneri Paltan will be looking forward to continuing with the same momentum against Dabang Delhi on Saturday. Manjeet is having a dream of taking his team forward in the league and is hopeful of winning the title this year. However, his target is to play for the country soon.
“Now that we are winning matches, my target is to pick up the trophy and contribute and help the team win. Our team is going to play really well in the future. The eventual dream is to represent the country,” Manjeet signed off.
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