Minerva Punjab FC, the newbies of I-League, who have managed to earn only a single point from their opening three encounters, have now roped in experienced midfielder Jewel Raja to bolster their squad further.
Raja, who had taken the winning penalty-kick in the Indian Super League (ISL) final only a month ago, had failed to find any suitor during the first two weeks of India's top-flight competition. The former Mohun Bagan player was plying his trade for Dempo, but the Goan club's decision to not take part in the tournament left him in the cold.
Minerva are expected to make a number of changes in the next match, especially in central midfield, with former India U-19 internationals Vinit Rai and Souvik Das not making the trip to Shillong, where the side will face Shillong Lajong this weekend. The club has played all of its matches on the road, drawing the first against Chennai City FC before going down against Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan.
The outfit will also be boosted by the arrival of Colm Toal, the former AIFF Technical Director who has agreed to serve the same role in the Punjab side.
"When I land in Chandigarh, my thoughts would be to set in place a program for the club to ensure that they are competitive not only for the upcoming season but for the next few years to come," he had told Goal after his appointment.
However, the former India U-16 coach was stuck in USA because of a delay in procuring the visa documents.
“I am very disappointed it’s been like this. It’s already been two games into the season. I am told that a work visa takes between 12 and 18 working days and as soon as I get it, I’ll be on the next flight to India,” Toal told Hindustan Times on Monday.
The paperwork is finally done and the experienced coach will be joining the squad soon. "Yes, he is arriving here on Friday (in the wee hours)," Ranjit Bajaj, the owner of the side informed Goal on Thursday evening.