Football

Minerva Punjab FC Owner, Ranjit Bajaj awarded for his “Contribution towards Indian Football”

Apollo backed Minerva Punjab FC, Winners of the Hero I-League 2018 turned heads when they won their maiden Domestic League title in just their Second Season in the top flight of the Indian Football. The catalyst behind their thumping season has been non other than their Owner & Director, Mr. Ranjit Bajaj who was instrumental in the Club’s succesful victory’s irrespective of the Age Group his boys were playing in, The Chandigarh born lad was easily spotted in the dugout for all the matches its team plays, be it Hero I-League or AIFF Youth Leagues games (U13,15 or U18). It has’nt been a smoooth ride for the Ex-Roadies finalists who has single handedly building up one of top football club’s in the Country today, whose Academy itself has produced over 36 International footballers to various age Group categories of Indian Football Team. His passion for the game cannot be questioned and was soon rewarded with sponsorship’s from Apollo Tyres, Cleartrip and Gatorade in his Second Season in the top flight.
Minerva Punjab FC under his guidance has broken all possible records from Winning a hattrick of AIFF U15 Youth League titles and AIFF U13 titles to contributing over 12 players for the India U17 World Cup Camp, which saw a notable 4 players making the final cut in Luis Norton de Matos coached team.
With a sole ambition of watching India play in the FIFA World Cup someday, Ranjit Bajaj has left no stone unturned in developing football at the grassroot level so much so that his love and passion for the game is now taking him to each and every state of the country to conduct trials to induct youngsters in his renowned Academy back home and polish them to be fine professionals to carry the National Flag at the International Stage. Minerva recently concluded their Trials at Manipur and Mizoram which saw a total of 6000 trialists try their luck to impress the scouts, they will next head to Western Parts of India, namely Maharashtra and Goa in the coming days. (One can be updated with their trails thru their Social Media handles)
What is FPAI Awards ?
The FPAI Award is an annual award given to an Indian players and Club Officials who is adjudged to have been the best of the year in Indian football. The award has been presented since the 2009–10 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players’ trade union, the Football Players’ Association of India.
Other Awardees at FPAI Awards Night :
Indian Player of the Year : Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Young Player of the Year : Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Jamshedpur FC)
Fans’ Player of the Year : Subhash Singh (NEROCA FC)
Indian Player of the Year : Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
Coach of the Year : Albert Roca (Bengaluru FC)
Foreign Player of the Year : Nicolás Ladislao Fedor Flores (Miku) – (Bengaluru FC)
Contribution towards Indian Football : Subrata Bhattacharya
The veteran shone for Mohun Bagan both as a player and manager as he also went on to coach their rivals East Bengal. He now coaches Calcutta Football League (CFL) side Bhowanipore SC as he is presented the award by his son-in-law Chhetri.
Contribution towards Indian Football – Henry Menezes
The former India goalkeeper serves as the CEO of the Western India Football Association (WIFA). He has been one of the key figures behind the redevelopment of the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri, the current home of the senior national team.
Contribution towards Indian Football – Sanjoy Sen
An I-League and Federation Cup winning manager with Mohun Bagan, Sen has now turned his focus towards youth development with ISL side ATK.
Contribution towards Indian Football – Ranjit Bajaj
The Mohali-based club were the champions of India in the 2017-18 season in three different age categories. The senior side won their maiden I-League while the U15 side won the Nike Premier Cup for the third successive time. Their U13 side won the first ever U13 Youth League organised by the AIFF this year. Club CEO Shahnawaz Khan recieves the award on behalf of owner Ranjit Bajaj, who received accolades for his youth development policy.
Contribution towards Indian Football – Subrata Dutta
The Senior Vice-President of the AIFF and the President of the Indian Football Association (IFA of West Bengal), Dutta has been a shrewd administrator of the game and has served the nation in the sport since 2004.
Special Award – Sunil Chhetri
The Indian team skipper very recently won his 100th cap for the senior side in the Intercontinental Cup against Kenya. With 64 goals for the Blue Tigers, Chhetri has also equalled Argentina’s Lionel Messi as the joint-second active international goalscorer.
Special Award – Bengaluru FC
CTO Mandar Tamhane accepts the award for the club’s success in Asian as well as domestic football in recent years. The Bangalore-based side have won the I-League twice and the Federation Cup and the Indian Super Cup once each. In 2016, they became the first Indian club to reach the final of the AFC Cup, but ended runner-up to Iraq’s Air Force Club.

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