New Delhi,6 Aug 2020: Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj believes India's focus shouldn't be creating players like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, instead, our focus needs to be on getting better than what we were yesterday.
During an Instagram live chat with Lakshmikant Tiwari, founder Sports Dunk, Bajaj talked a lot about how and Minerva Academy is dedicated to promoting talent in not only football but other sports as well. In the one-hour-long conversation, Bajaj mentioned that the doors of Minerva Academy are always open all those budding players who do not find support and wish for some guidance.
Talking about his journey from a Junior level footballer to being an administrator Bajaj said, "I like to help and support players because there was a time when I needed support and there was no one to guide me. Had there been someone who could have helped me supported me I believe I would have played more."
"After my stint as a footballer I went to the UK and took the job of a steward in the Premier League and when I saw their stadium, I fell in love with it. After I came back to India I worked as liasoning officer with the BCCI for the senior Indian national cricket team. I learnt a lot about being an administrator with BCCI. After my stint with BCCI I took up the role of football administrator because when I returned to India I could see that Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with a population of over 50-60 crore did not have a professional club and that was the time when I decided to open the Minerva Academy," added Bajaj.
Talking about the motto of Minerva, Bajaj said, "At Minerva, we have tried to inculcate the same values that we have in armed forces that is discipline and integrity, this is the main reason we have had fantastic results."
"I have always said and believed that our competition is not with Ronaldo or Messi but our competition is with what we were yesterday and our focus is to get better than what we were yesterday," added Bajaj.
When quizzed about how proud he is after winning 5 titles in football, Bajaj said, "It is a proud moment winning 5 titles but honestly speaking, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, who scored India's first-ever goal in a FIFA tournament, that was the proudest moment for me as he is Minervan. When I won 5 titles, the players their parent and few fellow Chandigarh people were happy but when Jeakson scored in FIFA tournament the whole country was happy. So that is one of the proudest moment."
In the final moments of the Instagram live Bajaj talked about some real heroes like Param Veer Chakra Awardee Captain Vikram Batra and Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, IAF's first and only PVC Awardee who were all part of the Minerva Family.
Bajaj said, "These people have said inspiring things and whenever we talk about them it gives us Goosebumps. Their story inspires us and helps me to motivate my players. And I proudly say that Minerva family has heroes who have laid down their life for the country like Capt Batra & Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh. On the other hand, we have produced players like Sandesh Jhingan and Jeakson Singh who battle on the football field for the nation."