Gujarat Fortunegiants beat Bengal Warriors 35-23 in their first home game at The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Friday. Representing Gujarat Fortunegiants at the post-match press conference were captain Sunil Kumar and coach Manpreet Singh. Bengal Warriors’ coach Jagdish Kumble took questions on behalf of the team.
Q: How do you view this win?
Manpreet Singh: A win in the first match of your home leg is very important. Our team played really well. We were up against one of the league’s strongest teams and I’m happy we won in this manner. I hope we keep on performing this way. I feel very proud to see the team performing like this.
Q: Did you feel the absence of your lead raider, Sachin?
Manpreet Singh: I have always said that this is a team and whatever we do will be a team effort. You cannot depend on one man to do everything for you. All teams now plan for Sachin while they are making their strategies.
Q: You were the only team to remain unbeaten at home last season. Are there similar plans for this season as well?
Manpreet Singh: Gujarat Fortunegiants is a team that puts pressure on the opponents but doesn’t take pressure on themselves. Each one of our players is a specialist in their particular skill-set. With the way we have performed over the season, especially in our last few games, I feel we should go unbeaten this time as well.
Q: You got your first tackle point pretty late into the first half, but then they kept coming at regular intervals. Was there any reason behind this?
Manpreet Singh: When you start a game, sometimes the team hasn’t warmed up enough. As the game progresses, the team starts getting used to the pace of the game. The team then gets used to the combination. Tackle points and raid points become easier to get as the game progresses. I don’t think any team wants to tackle unsuccessfully very early in the game.
Q: You have now lost two successive games. How do you see this?
Jagdish Kumble: Gujarat Fortunegiants are a team that plays on their defence. We gave them a tough fight, at least until the first half. A couple of minutes before halftime, we lost points in both offence and defence. The game turned after halftime when Gujarat Fortunegiants were playing on the Do-or-Die raid. Had Surjeet Singh been able to successfully tackle the raiders at that time, the game could’ve been different. To lose two on the trot means we have been going wrong somewhere. We will try to rectify our mistakes before our next game.
Q: Where do you think your team lacked?
Jagdish Kumble: All players need to plan and strategise according to the situation of the game. We know Maninder Singh can single-handedly win us games. He got us a lot of points initially but once he got tackled a couple of times, it dented his confidence. The other raiders didn’t work very well tonight.