AFC Cup 2019 : Minerva Punjab to play rest of their home fixtures in Guwahati
Minerva Punjab were handed a blow when the Odisha Football Association refused to allow them play their home games at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar a month back, citing reasons of renovation. However, a series of talks between the concerned stakeholders allowed a consensus and Minerva Punjab were allowed to play their first ever AFC Cup Home game at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, where they clinched a point against Nepal League side Manang Marshyangdi in a 2-2 draw.
Minerva Punjab enlisted venues like the Fatorda Stadium in Goa, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Balewadi Stadium in Pune. However, the club finally declared the home venue of Indian Super League side NorthEast United after a decision with the Assam State Government. Here's what owner Ranjit Bajaj had to say:
'I am very thankful to the Assam Government for allowing us to play here. We will play Chennaiyin FC and Dhaka Abahani in Guwahati on 19th and 26th June respectively. We are also assured of using the same venue, if we qualify for the next stage in the competition. The stadium does not need an AFC check as Aizawl FC used the same venue in the previous edition of the AFC Cup.'
'We are also thankful to Jamshedpur FC for offering the JRD Tata Sports Complex. They were the only ISL side which offered us their stadium.'
Minerva Punjab are currently placed third in the AFC Cup Group E standings with 3 points from 3 games. It is now upto the Warriors to make the Assamese capital their fortress and turn the group on its head with some wins to supercede Dhaka Abahani and Chennaiyin FC.