Pro Kabaddi League 2019: After falling short in previous edition, Gujarat Fortunegiants earn shot at title this season
Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh’s tone betrays resentment as he says it. Clearly, his team’s defeat in the final of last season’s Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) at the hands of Patna Pirates is still at the back of his mind. Back on that gloomy Chennai night in October 2017, Manpreet’s side seemed to be in with a chance until half-time, trailing just by three points.
Thursday, though, was a night for second chances, in more ways than one. Having beaten the UP Yoddha by a 38-31 margin in Qualifier 2 at Mumbai’s NSCI Stadium, Manpreet’s Gujarat Fortunegiants are once again in touching distance of the PKL trophy, thanks to having seized the second chance that they were given, courtesy Qualifier 2. On Saturday, they will face the Bengaluru Bulls, who had picked them apart in Qualifier 1.
One of the reasons behind the success of the Fortunegiants this season has been the combination of the two cover defenders Parvesh Bhainswal and captain Sunil Kumar, both of whom are cousins who grew up in the same village in Sonipat, their houses separated by just a wall. In Qualifier 1 against the Bengaluru franchise, the duo had contributed just one point.
On Thursday, they were slightly more efficient, with Sunil’s three and Parvesh’s two points coming at crucial junctures.
Talking about his game against the Bulls in Qualifier 1, Sunil said: “We made a lot of errors in the match against Bengaluru. Parvesh at least had one tackle point. I had none! When your defence doesn’t work, the team won’t work.”
Manpreet also revealed that the team’s strategy revolved around not giving UP Yoddha’s star defender Nitesh Kumar easy tackle points. Nitesh has racked up 100 tackle points this season, the most by any player.
“We knew once we had neutralised Nitesh (Kumar), their defence would collapse. I’ve played with his father for a few years, he used to be a very good left cover and Nitesh plays as a right corner. The sport runs in his blood. The pressure that players feel in big matches, he doesn’t seem to feel that. That’s why targetting him was necessary.”
I Wanted To Prove I Am The Best, Says Iran Women’s Kabaddi Coach Shailaja Jain
India’s Shailja Jain wanted to prove that she is the best kabaddi coach in the world and she has done that with Iran women’s team, albeit at the expense of her own country. Jain, who hails from Nashik, joined the Iranian team 18 months back and since then she has played a crucial role in their success.
Iran today ended India’s dominance at the Asian Games kabaddi by winning the women’s title with a close 27-24 win in the final. “When I visited Iran first time after taking up the job, I said this is my mission, to prove I’m the best coach. And now we have the result,” an elated Jain said. “Today our defence after the first five minutes was very tight, which was crucial to our win. And three of our raiders were excellent.”Jain said after initially struggling to relay her thought process to the Iranian players, she decided to learn the local language.
“Communication was not easy, so I learnt Farsi. Before the match I told the girls ‘don’t sent me back to India without the gold medal’. Some of them came back and told me ‘madam, we’ve given you what you wanted’,” she said. “This final match was very special for me and the team. After a long time, Iran won a gold. I’m thankful to the federation for showing faith in me.”
Being an Indian, she is obviously disappointed for the Indian team but as a true professional she had never let her nationality come in the way of her job. “I’m sad India lost. Like any other Indian, I love my country. But I love kabaddi also. Being their coach, I think only of the Iran team. Kabaddi is very popular in India. They all know what kabaddi is about. Everyone watched this match back in Iran,” she said.
Jain said she didn’t work on the physical aspect of the Iranians, instead her challenge was to create strategies. “In those seven months, they learnt the tactics and strategy. I didn’t have to work on their fitness, they already were supremely fit,” she said.
Source – News 18
India’s Defeat Reflects Kabaddi’s Globalisation: Indian Women’s Coach Reddy
Twin defeats at the hands of Iran in the 18th Asian Games will rankle India for a long time but it also reflects that Kabaddi has truly become a global sport, says women’s team coach L Srinivas Reddy. Traditional powerhouse India returned without a gold in kabaddi for the first time in the history of the Games after Iran shocked their women’s team 24-27 in the final today to join their male counterparts in walking away with the top honours.
The Indian men’s team had lost 18-27 to Iran in the semifinals on Thursday. Reddy said India cannot take its medal for granted now as the rivals are watching the game keenly. “Yes, the defeat hurts because we had come with an aim to create a hat-trick. The game has been globalized. Other teams will also fancy their chances now. It is becoming an Olympic sport,” he said.“Chinese Taipei started playing the game only in 2014 now they are podium finishers, that means the game is growing at a great speed. It’s a win for Kabaddi.”
The coach said the game has come a long way from the time when the Kabaddi players’ applications for the Arjuna award was not considered seriously. “At one point of time Milkha Singh had rejected the file of our players for the Arjuna award, saying only six countries play Kabaddi, why give them Arjuna. Now 40 countries play the game. It starts with one country and then grows. So no game is small or big,” Reddy said.
The young coach also felt that the fear factor has been neutralised by the Kabaddi Leagues, which allows players to mingle with each other. Pro Kabaddi League and World Kabaddi League were launched on the line of IPL and became popular among fans. It also helped Kabaddi players gain an identity and money too.“The exposure through Leagues has helped foreign players. There was always the uncertainty factor but with players playing consistently with each other, that factor is no more there. The phobia is over, players are friends with each other. They are watching the game keenly and we have to work harder now. We can’t take things for granted.”
Analysing the defeat, Reddy said, “The defence faltered and raiders also could not perform at crunch moments. Silver does not give us satisfaction, we always play for gold.” Iran team was coached by an Indian — Shailja Jain — but the coach said credit should be given to people who prepared the Iran team from the scratch. “A lot of India coaches have gone there but it’s years of hard work that is paying off. No coach has magic wand to transform a team in six months. She has got credit because it happened under her tenure.”
Reddy though looked a bit peeved with media for not highlighting the big wins, as they did the Asian Games defeat. “When we became world champions no one gave us coverage but now that we have lost, everyone is talking about this defeat. The media would give just 2 paras earlier, but now men’s team last, the coverage was huge.”
Reddy said nothing less than a gold is acceptable to them. “In other sport, people may be happy winning silver and bronze but we want only gold. We have missed it, so it hurts. We have to work hard,” he said
Source – News 18