RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019, Team Profile: Ahmedabad Defenders
- Here is all you need to know about the RuPay Pro Volleyball League team Ahmedabad Defenders.
The sport of volleyball is set to open a brand new chapter in its history books as the first-ever franchise-based league in the sport, the Rupay Pro Volleyball League 2019 commences on the 2nd of February 2019 at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi.
The league, a collaboration between Baseline Ventures and the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) will feature six teams in its debut season and close to 200 players in action across 18 matches in two cities, Kochi and Chennai.
The auctions ahead of the season gave rise to a lot of excitement from the six franchises' management groups as 117 Indian players went under the hammer, with the international players being drafted into the sides through a separate 'draft system'.
Famed Indian setter, Ranjit Singh emerged as the highest paid player, as his services were procured for a sum of ₹13 lakh by the Ahmedabad Defenders.
The Ahmedabad Defenders team is owned by Bonhomie Sports Event Management Limited, who opted to rope in the services of Serbia's Novica Bjelica as the foreign player from the draft while, as mentioned above, seasoned campaigner Ranjit Singh has been entrusted with the reins of the team.
The team is stacked with a good mix of youth and experience with four attackers, three blockers, two setters and universals, and one Libero comprising the overall capacity of twelve players in the team.
Here's how the team shapes up ahead of the season:
International Icon Player: Novica Bjelica (Serbia)
The 35-year old Serbian comes into the league with bundles of experience and could prove to be a match-winner in his own right. Having represented Serbia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the middle blocker played a crucial role in his team's title victories at the European Cup, World Cup, and World League championships and could well be the Defenders’ ace card.
Gagandeep Singh's efforts in the local circuit have certainly not gone unnoticed, with the counter attacker's tall frame holding him in good stead to cause nightmares for the opposition defenders.
Employed by the Punjab Police, Singh was in top form during the recently held National Volleyball Championships for his team and expect him to come good at the RuPay Pro Volleyball League.
Victor Syosev from Novosibirsk, Russia will play the role of an outside hitter and with his big frame and his attacking instincts, he could be a force to reckon with. Having traveled all over the world to play the sport, Syosev's experience will be key for the Defenders.
Raman Kumar hails from Karnal, Haryana and is a popular figure in the volleyball fraternity. Having cemented his place in the national team, he is one of the few players to have plied his trade on away shores as well. Kumar's stint with the NMC Club in Abu Dhabi houses a lot of confidence in the 25-year old attacker.
Dilip Koiwal is the local hero in the team and brings along buckets of experience from his stints with the national team at the 2014 Asian Games and 2014 Asian Cup. Khoiwal's ability to read match situations and pile the pressure on the opposition could prove to be the Defenders' primary trump card.
G R Vaishnav is a middle blocker who hails from Tamil Nadu and is currently a part of the national setup.
Gifted with an ability to read game circumstances and maintain his composure at all times, Vaishnav has positive memories from the 2014 Asian Cup where he won the 'Best Blocker' award.
Rajat Bodla from Haryana is one of the most exciting prospects and is falls under the U-21 category. With an impressive show in the Khelo India Camp 2018 where he was tagged as the 'Best Attacking Center Blocker', Bodla will come into the Defenders' setup with a lot of expectations placed on his shoulders.
Ranjit Singh, one of India's volleyball heartthrobs, has made his name as one of the best setters in the world and also emerged as the costliest pick in the auctions. Hailing from Lalpur in Punjab, Singh claims to have taken to the sport in order to land a job but is now raking in the riches for his hard work on the court.
Having represented the Indian national team and been an ex-captain as well, Singh currently represents the Punjab Police. With his experience bound to come to the fore, he will be a key player to watch out for.
Lijoy Robin P from Calicut in Kerala is the youngest player in the squad but has already accumulated a considerable amount of game time in his fledgling career. The 19-year old will hope to learn from a veteran, Ranjit Singh, who will be leading from the front as the primary setter.
Rahul Graak hails from Kurukshetra in Haryana and currently represents the Indian Armed Forces in the local circuit. The lone Libero in the team, 27-year-old Graak's contribution to the team's cause will be a focal point for critics.
Gurinder Singh comes from the land of Chandigarh and is one of the most experienced players in the Defenders' unit. Having debuted under the national team setup in 2004, Singh went on to captain the Indian team and comes into the tournament with the label of one of the best 'outside attackers' in the world. His partnership with skipper, Ranjit Singh could prove to be vital for the Defenders.
Sayyad Mubarak Ali from Mahur, Maharashtra is yet another exciting prospect and is touted to achieve big things in this tournament. With a lengthy stint at SAI Gujarat under his belt, Ali has also earned a spot in the Gujarat state team for the 66th Senior National Volleyball Championships due to be held later in February.
The Defenders will be under the tutelage of the experienced Dr. Ajay Jangra, who has worked with the U-17, U-19 Women's teams and is also a certified FIVB Level-1 and Level-2 coach. Having worked as a fitness expert at the Sports Authority of India in Patiala, Jangra's words of wisdom alongside assistant coaches, Devender Singh and India Railways' coach Gurjot Singh, could be vital.
Ahmedabad Defenders Full Squad
Ranjit Singh (C), Novica Bjelica, Victor Syosev, Gagandeep Singh, Gurinder Singh, Dilip Khoiwal, Raman Kumar, GR Vaishnav, Rahul Graak, Rajat Bodla, Lijoy Robin P, Sayyad Mubarak Ali.
Coach: Dr. Ajay Jangra
Assistant Coaches: Devender Singh, Gurjot Singh.
The Ahmedabad Defenders team is owned by Bonhomie Sports Event Management Limited and will be captained by famed setter Ranjit Singh, while coach Ajay Jangra will don the role of the head coach for the inaugural edition.
Having made an impression on social media through sponsorship of a charity run organised for the promotion of the Special Olympics, the Defenders have also managed to grab the attention of fans with regular Q&A sessions on their Twitter handle.
With a fiery logo depicting a volleyball and a bright-orange flame in the background, the Defenders certainly mean business heading into the historic tournament.Published 28 Jan 2019, 23:10 IST