UPSA’s founder and coach Vinay Murgod’s interview

In the recently concluded WIFA (Western India Football Association) Women’s Championship, FC Pune City took the headlines by winning the Championship after overcoming a determined United Poona SA (UPSA) at Cooperage Stadium. Although UPSA ended being as the runner-up, they have surely won everyone’s respect because of their contribution towards the development of Women’s Football and especially giving the opportunity to underprivileged kids.

The person behind this initiative is United Poona SA’s founder and coach Mr. Vinay Murgod who started this academy way back in 1995. After the post-match presentation on Monday evening, we caught up with the man himself.

United Poona SA is an academy with a purpose to serve impressionable children and underprivileged kids who are recruited from slums and rural areas. Our main aim is to develop underprivileged children through the medium of football. We have training centre at Maha Taluka where we have been training and rescued them from the worse condition. UPSA is also working with grassroots for youth development and most importantly Women’s Football.

When asked if he expected United Poona SA to go this far in the Championship, he replied: “We don’t expect much, we rather make sure that we educate our players to face competition as they have come from the rough background. One of our goals is to build confidence and courage and educate them about situational leadership.”

Football plays a huge link in that. We not only teach them just to fight but also to believe in themselves as good human beings and responsible citizens. We also have an off-field programme which is Holistic Soccer Clinics,” Mr. Vinay Murgod said.

UPSA were 3-0 behind at half-time in the Final, Coach Vinay recalled his half-time pep talk:”I said Don’t go by what you are, go by who you are. What they are is players, who they are is a representative. Someone who is representing the entire nation while doing their job or duty.”

Whether you are a lawyer, doctor or a police, they represent the whole nation at every moment. That’s the seriousness and commitment one should deliver each time when they go on the field,” Coach Vinay concluded.


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