The last one year has seen Mohali-based Minerva Punjab FC playing its home matches in I-League at the Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana. Come February and competitive football will return to the city with Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex, Sector 3, Panchkula playing host to the club for five I-League matches. While the now demolished Sector 17 Football Stadium in Chandigarh hosted U-18 I-League matches last year, it will be for the first time that a football stadium will host I-League matches and play host to a home club. Minerva Punjab FC will play their first home game in Panchkula on February 7 when they face Shillong Lajong FC.
“For the last one year we have been playing our home matches in Ludhiana. To play I-League matches in the tricity is a huge thing for us and we are excited to get a chance to play at our true home in front of our home fans. We had been trying this for the last six months and all this have been made possible due to efforts by the Haryana government for the speedy work at the turf at the football stadium. The football pitch has been totally relaid to met the I-League standards and the team is raring to give their best at the home ground,” shared Minerva Opunjab FC owner Ranjeet Bajaj.
Last year, Minerva Punjab FC became the first football in five years from North India to play in I-League and played their home matches in Ludhiana without sponsors. This year has seen the team attracting sponsors like Cleartrip and Apollo Tyres and the team has shown a superb show lying at the top of the points table with 22 points including seven wins and one draw with a solitary loss. The team will play its last home match at Panchkula against Churchill Brothers on March 6. “The team has been playing superbly and with seven wins in the tournament, the team’s has gained momentum. We signed foreign players like Bhutan’s Chencho Gyeltshen and he has scored four goals with four assists in nine matches for us. More than five foreign players including Ghana’s William Opoku apart from goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar, who has kept a clean sheet in last three matches will play and the home fans can enjoy the competitive football being played. We invite every fan to support us,” concluded Bajaj.
Feb 7 : Mnerva Punjab FC vs Shillong FC
February 13 : Minerva Punjab FC vs East Bengal
Feb 20 : Minerva Punjab FC vs Gokulam Kerela FC
Feb 26 : Minerva Punajb FC vs Aizawal FC
March 6 : Minerva Punjab FC vs Churchill Brothers