6 July 2023
India captured the title for a record 9th time in the SAFF Football Championship and again the footballers of Minerva Academy contributed to the title for the country. Academy’s Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Anirudh Thapa and Jeakson Singh performed brilliantly for the team. Academy Director Ranjit Bajaj also kept encouraging the team during this period. He said that all the players have contributed to this victory. It is a matter of pride for us to be part of the 4 star playing team of Minerva Academy, popularly known as #The Factory. Minerva and the players here will continue to work for Indian football like this.
In the championship played in Bengaluru, India beat Pakistan 4-0 in the first match and Nepal 2-0 in the second match. The third match was with Kuwait and after a 1–1 draw both teams advanced to the semi-finals. The team faced Lebanon in the knockout match. Both were tied 0-0 till full time, but India won 0-0(4-2) in the shoot-out. In the final again the team clashed with Kuwait and in the end the score was equal to 1-1. Both were tied 4-4 in the shootout, but in sudden death the team won 5-4 to clinch the title.
These Minerva players contributed:
India’s star defender Anwar Ali contributed significantly in the victory. He didn’t give chances to teams like Kuwait and Lebanon to score. He stood like a wall. He played 4 out of 5 matches and also assisted one goal for the team.
Playing in the central midfielder position, Thapa has been performing consistently well for the Indian team. He specializes in goal assists and the star who played in all 5 matches scored a goal assist for the team. Also created many important chances.
Sandesh Jhingan, considered a veteran, landed on the field as a defender and did not give the veteran teams a chance to score. He got a chance to play 3 out of 5 matches. He faced 3 yellow cards while stopping the opposition, but did not allow the goal to be scored.
Defensive midfielder Jeakson Singh contributed significantly in keeping the team strong in defence. He constantly kept the strikers in the midfield area, due to which the opposition could not easily make space in the box. He played in all 5 matches.