All India Football Federation’s top officials, including general secretary Kushal Das, visited I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC’s academy in Chandigarh on Friday, the two parties keeping their bickering aside for a change.
The Punjab-based side which brought the coveted title back to Punjab after 21 years has invested in their youth setup, which was instrumental in them winning the U-15 Youth League trophy for three successive seasons.
“I’m delighted to have visited the academy and participate in the I-League prize giving ceremony. I am fully convinced that right things are happening at Minerva Punjab FC,” Das said.
“The results are there for everyone to see. They’ve won the youth league and now they’ve conquered the I-League. I believe they have the ability and determination to become a premier club in Asia,” he added.
I-League CEO, Sunando Dhar, lauded Minerva Punjab’s efforts to nurture the budding talents.
“It’s great to see that time, money, energy and above all the passion have been put to develop such a fantastic facility. If only all professional clubs make similar investments, Indian Football will develop. Kudos to Minerva Punjab FC. Keep up the good work,” he said.
Founder of Minerva Punjab, Ranjit Bajaj, was elated to welcome the AIFF officials.
“It’s a dream come true for us that top dignitaries from AIFF have paid a visit to our Academy. It shows that we have come a long way since we started and their visit will only encourage us and all the young players of Minerva Punjab FC,” he said.
This was a welcome change though, as the club often found itself at loggerheads with the country’s apex football body over release of release of funds and other issues.