Tata Football Academy seeking development over results

By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay
I-league Media

NEW DELHI: Tata Football Academy, who were ousted last season in the zonal round, started their U-18 I-League campaign on a high note this season. The Tata boys regrouped themselves to revive their record in the premier age-group national tournament and they would go all-out to clinch the maiden U-18 I-League.

Tata Football Academy started the zonal round with an away win over Mohun Bagan when the lanky striker Seineo Kuki slotted it home in the 74th minute. They continued their winning spree when they breezed past Sports Authority of India-Kolkata, thanks to the solitary strike from Ronald Singh. Following the win at Jamshedpur, TFA travelled to Kolkata where they outplayed United Sports Club and Mohammedan Sporting Club in consecutive away fixtures. Ronald Singh found the net on both the occasions and Ashish Pradhan, Srivash Singh also found their names in the scoresheet. After four consecutive wins, finally, East Bengal could salvage a draw against the Tata outfit. It was the first occasion in five matches when Tata Football Academy dropped a point. They came back strongly against the Mariners to snatch a win on next match day, thanks to back-to-back goals from Seineo Kuki and Naresh Singh in the dying minutes. Sports Authority of India-Kolkata hosted Tata Football Academy in the next fixture and the match ended in a drab goalless draw. In the return leg against United Sports Club, Ronald Singh scored his fourth goal in the U-18 I-League as they notched up their sixth victory in the zonal round. The Tata outfit collected all possible 6 points from the next two matches against Mohammedan SC and the Red & Gold outfit in the home leg.

Tata Football Academy were drawn against reigning champions AIFF Elite Academy, DSK Shivajians, Sports Authority of India-Guwahati and Lonestar Kashmir in the National finals. Seineo Kuki and Ronald Singh started the finals in top gear as they pummelled Lonestar Kashmir by an unassailable margin of 4-0. Mobbshir Rahman’s sole striker in the 25th minute against Sports Authority of India secured their second win in the National finals. Ronald Singh continued his menacing form and smacked his eighth goal in the U-18 I-League against DSK Shivajians in the following fixture. Mobbshir Rahman also got his name in the scoresheet, having cemented their berth in the semis.

Lee Walshaw, the head coach of Tata Football Academy, sounds extremely confident ahead of the semi-final, “We are focussed on development, we are here for the result but it’s not our primary goal. The boys have shown their true potential and it’s time for them to keep their head straight till the final whistle.” On asking whether they feel at home in Kolkata, Lee added, “Absolutely, we have a good number of boys from Kolkata and they are really delighted to perform in front of their family. Certainly the Kolkata quotient brings a fresh air in the dressing room and we would try our best to encash the opportunity.”


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