Maharashtra gears up for Santosh Trophy

After a rigorous selection camp lasting for weeks, team Maharashtra is prepared to take part in the Santosh Trophy West Zone Qualifiers held in Goa.

After a rigorous selection camp lasting for weeks, team Maharashtra is prepared to take part in the Santosh Trophy West Zone Qualifiers held in Goa.

Yusuf Ansari, former Indian team Goalkeeper is the Head Coach of the state team. Alongside him, the likes of Harshad Meher – former Kerala Blasters goalkeeper, and Paresh Shivalkar – former Mumbai FC midfielder, are heading the coaching activities for the upcoming campaign.

Before sharing light on the preparations by the team, Paresh Shivalkar lauded the continued efforts by the governing body of football in Maharashtra-WIFA. He also explained about the changes that has taken place since his playing days.

“A lot has changed since my days. The game itself has evolved. Now in modern football, the combination of speed, strength and stamina with the skill is the requirement. Players are more professional, and the association is more supportive now”

quipped Paresh Shivalkar, who represented Maharashtra 9 times and led the team as a captain on several occasions.

The Maharashtra team practiced twice a day since their camp began. Their experienced gaffer, Yusuf Ansari, closely analysed all the profiles since the MDFA Nadkarni Cup began. After the selection of the team, the entire coaching staff seem satisfied with the efforts put in by the players.

“We have worked very hard with the team. Many a times we overheard people saying that it doesn’t look like a state team is practising. Instead, it looks like some top-tier team is preparing for a competition.  Considering all the practice sessions and building the team with proper attention on each areas, we are optimistic about the results to come. Yusuf Ansari, Harshad Mehar and myself have good understanding between us which makes our work easier. We are very positive and confident about the team. We did our homework, and are gearing up to field our team.”

On the other hand, goalkeeper coach, Harshad Meher stated that the team is very young and is formed with talented individuals. He believes that playing the Santosh Trophy at such a young age would be a great exposure for the players.

“This year, the team mainly consists of youngsters. It’s a good opportunity for them to show their talent in the state championship. Players like Ashish, Manoj, Johnson, Aman, Kamran, Durvesh , Nikhil and others are very talented. I am sure that they are going to make it big in the upcoming years.”

Ahead of their first challenge on 22nd September, Harshad discussed about the job in their hand as well.

“As a coach, there are many responsibilities. We will take one game at a time. We sincerely want the team to enjoy their football and play some good football. I want my goalkeepers to have a good tournament and win the trophy for us.”

After a drought of 19 years since the trophy came home, the Maharashtra outfit will lock horns on 22nd September against Daman & Diu on their opening game. The team is placed in Group A alongside Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Lakshwadeep and the defending champions, Services.

For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: India U-18 boys prepared to challenge in the SAFF U-18 Championship
Also Read: FC Goa Dev Team win Police Cup in penalty shoot-out

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