Kabaddi is an intensely passionate game where the teams and fans can be seen constantly engaged in the action throughout the 40-minute duration. It is also a sport in India which of late has garnered a huge following and seen an incredible rise in popularity. Consequently, an increasing number of corporates are now coming forward to be a part of the kabaddi revolution. One such group is the Adani-Wilmar group, which owns the newly-formed Gujarat Fortunegiants team.
As the Fortunegiants came off a successful home leg in Ahmedabad where they stayed undefeated, prokabaddi.com got in touch with team CEO Mr Sanjay Adesara to try and find out the joys and perils of owning a kabaddi team. Here are some excerpts.
What attracted you to the sport of kabaddi?
Kabaddi is a short-format game, action-packed, quick and requires lots of flexibility and speed. It’s an entertaining game as well.
What challenges did you face while setting up a new team? How did you overcome them?
We were the only corporate who didn’t have any experience of managing a professional league team before and we have turned our disadvantage into an advantage. While other teams were going for big names for players and coaches, we believed in and banked upon new talent, considering this season is happening over a period of 13 weeks for the first time and it is a contact sport so injuries are bound to happen.
We can’t bet upon old heroes or a few big names. Our coaches are players too, that brings a much more practical approach towards the game... Our coaches showcase things by doing it themselves first. We understood the entire game within two weeks and did an analysis of existing players during that time period so that we have some fundamental idea during the auction.
What would you say about your team's performance so far in VIVO Pro Kabaddi?
There is nothing to say, numbers speak for themselves. We are the only team who has made several records in their first season in VIVO Pro Kabaddi – the only team who is unbeaten on home turf, the only team who has 5 consecutive wins at home, the only team who is leading points table in both the zones.
What are your expectations from your team this season?
We should give our 100 percent to the game. Results are not in our control and neither should we bother about them.
What would you say about the kabaddi culture in Gujarat? How has the response of fans been towards your team?
OMG! We never expected that all the tickets will be sold out in just three days. Not a single seat went unsold for any of the matches. The fans’ response was amazing. Considering the limited capacity of the stadium, next season we have to do some fan park activity in the state to feed their hunger for the game. And in Gujarat, sports culture is getting space in the lifestyle of the people which is encouraging. We are sure in the next few years there will be a good number of Gujarati players in all the teams.