Minerva Punjab got the better of Mohammedan Sporting to win their maiden U-13 Youth League title at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata. Longjam Singh opened the scoring and two second-half goals from Himanshu Jangra ensured yet another silverware for the Chandigarh-based club.
There were suggestions from within the football fraternity that Minerva had fielded players who were older than the permissible limit. Ranjit Bajaj, owner of Minerva Punjab, is aware of these allegations and he called for those alleging age fudging against his team to prove their claims.
"Losers will do that (false allegations). People analyze how come Minerva is winning everything. Four of our boys have been selected for India U-14 team. Then on top of that if a boy comes up to you with a valid passport and Aadhar Card, then you have to accept that. You cannot challenge original government documents," said Bajaj.
He added, " The All India Football Federation (AIFF) makes us submit X-Ray copies of every player. Then they picked up six boys to do an MRI scan. All 30 X-Rays and six MRIs have failed to prove that my boys are over-age. So there has to be a basis for those allegations. They must show some proof before they accuse. If they don't have any proof then they should stop talking. If they had something then they would have surely produced before AIFF. If AIFF had got a sniff of any misdoing then I am sure they would have got us banned," stated Bajaj.
The U-13 team, coached by Anthony Andrews, qualified for the semi-finals with an unbeaten record from the group-stage. They defeated Sudeva Football Club 5-0 in the semi-final to set up adate with Mohammedan Sporting in the finals.
This has been a historic season for Minerva Punjab as they have bagged three trophies this year. They had won the U-15 league title (Nike Premier Cup) in February and the senior team won the I-League title in March before they completed the treble with the U-13 triumph.