The kings roaring out their sustainable success so far.
Through its youth development system, Minerva Punjab have laid out a blueprint for teams in India to follow. For, Minerva Punjab have trophies to show their good work. Minerva Punjab became the first club in India to win the league across all age groups. Their hard work paid off.
In the last one year, Minerva Punjab
Promoted to the first division in the 2016-17 season after Dempo SC pulled out, Minerva Punjab managed to survive the league in their first season, before clinching the title in their second. The dark horses overcame heavyweights like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal before signing their name on the history books of Indian football.
At the U-18 level, Minerva Punjab won the Elite League in the 2018-19 season after defeating FC Pune City in the finals. The eventual champions conceded just one goal in the knockout stages and saw off Mohun Bagan in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals.
The success has been greater at the U-15 level, with Minerva Punjab winning a hattrick of titles from 2016 to 2018. Their maiden title arrived in 2016, when they defeated Royal Wahingdoh on penalties in the finals. Minerva Punjab defended the U-15 title by putting three past Ozone FC without conceding any in the finals in 2017. In 2018, Minerva Punjab made it three in a row, cruising past DSK Shivajians with the score-line reading 3-0.
Minerva Punjab are also the defending champions of the Sub-Junior League – or the U-13 Youth League as it was called – by virtue of beating Mohammedan Sporting Club 3-0 in the finals in May 2018. This is how Minerva Punjab became the first club in Indian history to win the league in all age groups.
Minerva Punjab should be a model club for all the top clubs when grassroot development is concerned. Club owner Ranjit Bajaj deserves a lot of credit for everything the club has achieved at all levels over the years. It is not that Minerva have a massive budget. Minerva Punjab’s dominance in the Indian youth football scene in recent years, shows that Ranjit Bajaj-owned club is doing something right.
The team has developed a lot of players like Jeakson Singh, Anwar Ali, Mohammed Shahjahan and Nongdamba Naorem who were all part of India’s 2017 U17 World Cup team. The success has shown that it is about having the right intent and complimenting it with the right resources. The club doesn’t have massive budget yet they are doing it better than most other clubs in India.