Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Gujarat Fortunegiants defender Fazel Atrachali hits back at critics
Post their dominating 44-20 victory over Puneri Paltan, Gujarat Fortunegiants sit comfortably at the top of Zone A. With 82 points from 21 games, they have 8 more points than second-placed Haryana Steelers who have played the same number of matches.
After the game, Gujarat's new captain and star defender, Fazel Atrachali made a bold claim. He hit back at critics and naysayers. According to him, not many gave Gujarat a chance this season, given the fact that it's their Pro Kabaddi League debut.
He suggested that Gujarat's performance has taken everyone by surprise and believes they are in the driving seat to lift the trophy.
"Yes, I think Gujarat have a great chance. In the beginning, no one believed that we could make it to the playoffs because it is only our first season. They did not know our players. Now I believe 90% we will be champions of season 5," he claimed.
Fortunegiants coach, Manpreet Singh, heaped praise on the star of the night Sukesh Hegde who scored a monster 6 point raid. Like Fazel, Singh too seemed bullish and suggested that Puneri Paltan were no match for them.
"Sukesh is a big player and shows it by performing in the big games for Gujarat. The strategy that we had planned, we executed 100%, Pune failed and did not even have a plan B. They tried changing their players multiple times but nothing worked for them," he said.
Manpreet also spoke about his side's squad depth. He made five changes in the second half. The points were in the bag and he wanted to give his bench players a chance to shine. Singh revealed that everybody at Gujarat is hungry to win.
"I changed five players realizing that the match was done and dusted. Gujarat is like a family. All the players are only thinking about winning. Pune have five matches left so we had to win this one. Mahendra Rajput and Vikas Kale will play the next game," he stated.
There is no doubt that the Fortunegiants are firm favourites to win season 5. A lot has to go wrong for them not to win it.
However, one cannot simply shrug aside the likes of Patna Pirates and Haryana Steelers. Like Pune, these two teams have displayed admirable consistency. On their night, they could give Gujarat a lot of problems. Singh may be bullish, but he will have to calm his players down ahead of the upcoming crunch matches.