A solid all-round display by Gujarat Fortunegiants propelled them to a 42 - 24 win over Bengaluru Bulls at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday. It was almost the perfect start to VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7 for last year's runner ups, scoring an impressive win over the defending champions. After the match, Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh and siblings, Sunil and Sumit Kumar, spoke to reporters, while Bengaluru Bulls captain Rohit Kumar attended the post-match press conference from the opposition camp.
1. Victory by a big margin tonight, what are your thoughts?
Manpreet Singh: Not just for Gujarat Fortunegiants, but I feel kabaddi was also a real winner tonight. Six months back we lost to Bengaluru Bulls in the final. So, I’m happy we won tonight. Secondly, I’m happy that we have lived up to our reputation of blooding new talent (Sumit). I believe tonight, we unearthed three new stars for the future.
2. Tell us more about your faith in youngsters.
Manpreet Singh: According to me, a coach is someone who should always take on new challenges. Integrating new faces into a team and getting the best out of their talent is what I feel being a coach is all about.
3. What was your strategy at halftime?
Manpreet Singh: The strategy was clear from the start. We planned to keep it tight in defence. If you look at the final six months back, we were in a good position at half-time but lost. We’ve worked hard over the past three months and you saw the result of that in today’s match. Hopefully, it’ll be like this throughout the season.
4. Sunil, what are your thoughts on the game and playing with your brother?
Sunil: I am happy to have won today’s game after losing to Bengaluru Bulls in last season’s final. As for playing with my brother Sumit, we’ve got a very good understanding on the mat and have been playing kabaddi together from a young age in our village.
5. What are your thoughts on Sumit’s performance?
Manpreet Singh: I feel Sumit will be a star. Many big players from Indian kabaddi have come from his village in the past. They have a lot of kabaddi players and wrestlers from their village. The craze for kabaddi is so much that children born there don’t want to grow up and be movie stars, but aspire to be kabaddi players instead. The coach who is present in their village is also a very good friend of mine. He recommended these players to me and I salute him for spotting such talents.
1. Do you think Bengaluru Bulls lack a third raider?
Rohit Kumar: No, I don’t feel that way. Last season we had Kashiling Adake, this season we have Sumit. However, sometimes what happens in matches is that the opposition team gets set and plays well. And at that point of time, it is difficult to get raid points, regardless of whether it’s me, Kashiling or anyone else.
2. What went wrong today?
Rohit Kumar: We kept trying to play well from the start but their defence was very aggressive, which resulted in us trying to adjust our game. I feel that’s the main reason behind our loss today. Perhaps we could have raided with more intent but that didn’t happen today.