Puneri Paltan coach Anup Kumar is disappointed as they failed to qualify for the playoffs spot with what he believes is a perfectly balanced squad of youth and experience. Puneri were beaten by Delhi 40-60 in Panchkula last evening which ended Pune's chances of making it to the next round.
Dabang Delhi thrashed Puneri Paltan by an impressive scoreline of 60-40 with Naveen Kumar starring the show earning a career-high of 19 raid points at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Sunday. Emad Sedaghatnia won seven raid points in seven attempts for Pune while Balasaheb Jadhav finished with six tackle points out of 10 tackles attempted. Pune has now worsened their head-to-head record with Delhi to 6-9. Puneri Paltan coach Anup Kumar was left disappointed with his squad who he feels comprise the potential to achieve a much better position.
“There is a stark difference between the quality of this team and its performances. If you look at the names in the roster, it has the perfect balance of experience and youth. To miss out on the playoffs with a team as good as ours is extremely disappointing,” Anup said at the post-match press conference.
In his first season as a coach in the league, Anup is facing the harsh reality of not qualifying for the playoffs but believes there is room for improvement.
“When you do something for the first time, there is obviously room for improvement. I have learned a lot this season. This is my first year as a coach in this league and it has been quite the ride. I am learning on the job and, over the course of the season, I believe I have improved as a coach.”
Anup has been struggling with the transition from player to coach as he cannot affect the game with his presence on the mat anymore. He has been “itching to get on the mat” whenever things are not working out for his team. Puneri Paltan raider Nitin Tomar lauded his coach for his efforts and asserted that they will keep on fighting in the upcoming matches.
“Coach Anup tried his best to help us reach the level we needed to be at, but unfortunately, the team couldn’t find the correct synergy on the mat. But we will try our best in the upcoming matches,” Tomar said.
With this defeat, Puneri Paltan are officially out of the race for the playoffs of the Pro Kabaddi League 2019. After playing 20 matches, they are placed ninth on the league table with 42 points.