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Ranjit Bajaj: Minerva will be back competing in AIFF tournaments within a year

Ranjit Bajaj discusses his future ventures with GOAL after resigning from Punjab FC…

Ranjit Bajaj is not resting on his heels after severing all association with Punjab FC. In fact, the maverick former owner has rarely been busier since he is planning another project from scratch in Indian football.

He assures that Minerva FC will be back in a bigger, better and bolder format and that too within a year ot two.

“I have done it once and I can do it again. I have all the facilities and infrastructure in place. I have the know-how and with seven years of hands-on experience, the upcoming project will be bigger than before. Minerva will never be sold. I will not be participating in I-League (for now) and that will help me save a lot of money. With that money, I will be renovating my existing facilities and I promise that within a couple of years, Minerva will once again be a force to reckon with in the domestic football scenario,” stated Bajaj to Goal

Bajaj, who won the I-League title with Minerva Punjab, has set his immediate focus on an ambitious project where he is determined to find out the best talents in India and keep them together for a minimum of 10 years with an aim to help India qualify for the 2034 World Cup. The scouting process has already begun and around 50 kids, ranging from seven-nine years old, have been handpicked for the first batch with 20 more to be added within the coming months. 

“I wish to bring the best talents across India to Minerva. I have signed a 10-year legal contract with the parents of those kids and Minerva will take care of everything in this period. From education, diet to football training, everything will be taken care of. 

“I have already applied for Minerva’s academy accreditation to AIFF and my kids will be participating in the sub-junior league from the next season. I want them to play against the bigger boys from a young age. Also, I will keep no stone unturned to make them participate in overseas age-group tournaments because I really want to find out the difference in level between us and European nations. To be the best you must play against the best,” elaborates Bajaj. 

Hence, if everything falls into place, then Minerva will officially be participating in the Sub-Junior League 2021. He has already shortlisted a Spanish technical director for his academy and under his tutelage, his young talents will be honing their skills. 

“You can’t expect a player to adopt a certain playing style or start following a vegan diet when he is already 25. You need to instill the methods from a very young age. Therefore, you must also learn from the best. The technical director will definitely be a boon to these boys. And only coaches who have an A or B License will be hired.”

The senior team of Minerva will also be back in due time. While the best performing kids will be promoted to the senior side, the aim remains to play in the top league. But Bajaj remains adamant that he is not going to pay a franchise fee to play top division football. 

“Minerva will play by qualifying on merit (to play top tier football). We know that we have to go through an incredibly tough road via the second division, but we are prepared for it,” he revealed.

The blueprint is there in place. The man has done it before and there is hardly any reason that would stop him from replicating his previous successes and maybe even exceeding it. 

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