A gritty thriller that went down to the wire saw Bengal Warriors and Gujarat Fortunegiants play out a 25-25 tie at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. Skipper Maninder Singh scored nine raid points for Bengal Warriors, while Rohit Gulia put in an excellent second-half display to help Gujarat Fortunegiants tie the game. At the post-match press conference, coach BC Ramesh and skipper Maninder Singh turned up for Bengal Warriors, while Gujarat Fortunegiants were represented by coach Manpreet Singh and captain Sunil Kumar. Some excerpts are below.
Q. Coach, thoughts on this match?
BC Ramesh: I’m not particularly disappointed with this result. It was a good game of kabaddi. The players played really well. Of course, we wanted to win. But in the end, we had to settle for a tie, which is fine.
Q. The team had an early lead but couldn’t hold on. Where do you think the match slipped out of control?
BC Ramesh: Once Rohit Gulia was brought in, he put in a couple of good bonus points and took a few good points using his skills. K. Prapanjan went for a follow catch but that too went wrong. I think that gave Gujarat Fortunegiants some momentum and turned the match around.
Q. Maninder, thoughts on the raiders’ performance?
Maninder Singh: There was definitely more we could have done. I think if we were at a 100% then we could have won this match. Besides that, we had planned to let the raider who is doing better, do a bulk of the raiding. We played according to the situation of the match.
Q. Coach, are you disappointed with this result?
Manpreet Singh: It was a game that we should have won but was tied in the end. Even if we gave away just one point instead of two towards the end, we could have won. But these things happen. Both teams played really well and no one could make out throughout the 40 minutes, which team will win. If there are more such matches, it is good for the sport of kabaddi.
Q What do you think went wrong towards the end?
Manpreet Singh: We had a lead towards the end and the match was in our hands. They even had a do-or-die raid. But we couldn’t capitalise. I don’t think there were any mistakes as such. Kabaddi is a game where there is no scope for going wrong. It has different skills and whoever executes them better gets the point. Our previous match was also decided in the last raid and so was this one. So, I think our team is getting better.
Q. How do you see the road ahead for the rest of the season?
Manpreet Singh: The playoff stage will be arriving soon and getting there is our only aim right now. We will try to win all our remaining matches. That is something this team is capable of. We want to make our way into the playoffs and make sure we don’t disappoint our fans.