Pro Kabaddi: Puneri Paltan wants to play well for the fans
Defeat to the Bengal Warriors yesterday has, all but, ended the Puneri Paltan’s chances of making it to the semi-finals. Barring a miracle, the Paltans look set to end their campaign on home soil when the action shifts to the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. But, all is not lost for the Paltans yet as they have a task of sending off their fans with smiles on their face apart from a miniscule chance of making it to the semi-finals.
Speaking to Sportskeeda ahead of the game, the Puneri Paltan team manager, Kailash Kandpal stressed on the need for his team to play their hearts out for the Punekars who have been supporting the team really well through its tough times.
“We have disappointed our fans so far this campaign. So we owe them some special performances. They have really supported us well all throughout the campaign so we have to play well for them at home,” said a disappointed Kailash Kandpal.
Kailash, though, felt his side didn’t enjoy the rub of the green when it came to injuries as the Paltans always had to stitch a side together. “We have been very unlucky with respect to the injuries. We started off quite well but always had injuries to the wrong players at the wrong time. It’s not an excuse for not doing well but it heavily affected our preparations,” he said.
Injuries hurt us: Puneri Paltan team manager
The injuries were a blow not just in terms of the personnel but also hindrance in having a settled team. “With so many injuries we could never have a settled side and had to rely on youngsters who had to be thrown into the action straight away. We lacked cohesion in our team and young guns were left puzzled at times. The likes of Yogesh Hudda, Pravin Niwale and Surinder Singh were in very good form when they got injured at that really hurt us,” Kailash Kandpal said.
But the team manager is now looking forward to the home leg and sees it as a great opportunity for the youngsters to learn. Kailash said, “What happened is history and we now look forward to winning as many matches at home as we can. We know it will be tough for us to field a strong side considering our injuries and the fact we play four games in as many days. But, that throws up a wonderful opportunity for our youngsters and also our foreign players who haven’t been involved a lot, so we are looking at the brighter side of things.”
Kailash revealed his excitement at having a full house at the Balewadi Sports Complex and feels that will hugely lift his side. “All the tickets are sold out and the team is excited to play in front of our support. It’s a huge lift to see people buying tickets despite our poor run and I am sure that will get us over the line in games. Our young players are going to have an experience of a lifetime,” said the excited team manager.