Ludhiana, Mar 12: Minerva FC, the new entrant in the I-league did not have a good start to the season. They only gained one point from their first five matches.
But in the team’s next six matches the Punjab-based side staged an impressive fight back and they have been able to manage 10 points which placed them at the 8th position with 12 points in 14 matches.
The man behind the sudden change f the club is none other than Olympic gold medal winning shooter Abhinav Bindra.
The ace rifle shooter is a close friend of the owner of Minerva Punjab FC, Ranjit Bajaj. The club owner requested Bindra to make a visit of the team.
So, after the team formed and they kicked off in the League, Bindra paid a visit to the club to motivate the players.
The club at the same time had roped in Colm Toal, the British coach who had worked with junior and sub-junior Indian teams for nine years.
Speaking over the phone from Ludhiana on Saturday, Ranjit Bajaj said: “Our philosophy is to nurture youth development programme which means we want to field young and promising footballers as much as possible in the League.
"In the opening year of the League, it is our philosophy. Colin Toal was brought in to implement this idea as we guessed that he would be able to implement after having worked with the junior boys for several years the junior Indian coach.
"But he did not do that. Rather in a bid to win points he avoided fielding quality junior footballers and placed our team in the first five matches in difficulty with only one point in the kitty.”
In a bid to come out of the situation Bajaj then began started sending his junior footballers to Bindra’s class to improve mental strength and this effort clicked finally.
Bajaj added: “Bindra just used to boost them, talking about his own success, his own fight back and the dedication before Bejing Olympics.
"Even, Bindra had prescribed an everyday schedule for our footballers instructing them what to do and what not to. This has been the story behind success.”