We have high standards when it comes to training: Suraj Pillai, Young Guns FA Head Coach

In the heart of MFA Super League's competitive frenzy, Thane based Young Guns FA under Coach Suraj Pillai emerges not just as a football team but a testament to dedication and strategic brilliance.

In the heart of MFA Super League’s competitive frenzy, Thane based Young Guns FA under Coach Suraj Pillai emerges not just as a football team but a testament to dedication and strategic brilliance.

One of the unbeaten sides in the ongoing MFA Super League, Young Guns FA has done a remarkable job in their campaign on their way to the playoff race. With 6 wins and 3 draws so far, Young Guns FA is sitting comfortably in the 2nd spot in Group A of the league. With positive results in the final two round of games will ensure the Thane based club’s passage to the next Round

In an exclusive interview, Suraj Pillai, Head Coach as well as the Technical Director of Young Guns FA, shared a profound insights into the club’s journey, ethos, and aspirations.


1. The team has had a fantastic run in the league so far. What do you attribute this success to, and how has the team evolved over the course of the season?

Suraj Pillai: The success is based on multiple factors, most importantly the culture at the club coinciding with the football dominant culture in the city of Thane. We have high standards when it comes to training sessions/video sessions, there are almost 20-25 players who come down each session, importantly all to improve themselves without expecting to get paid for, like players at some other clubs. We work meticulously to develop as a group, aim to implement a planned strategy, improve our fitness levels, so the entire program is quite wholesome and feels quite tempting to be a part of.

2. With the recent draw against Bombay YMCA and Bombay Gymkhana’s win over Mumbai Ultras, the race for the top 2 spots has intensified. Om Saidham FC is also in contention for the top 2 spots. How do you see this competition unfolding, and what is your strategy to secure a place in the playoffs?

Suraj: Yes, Om Sai Dham is one of the top teams and they were always favourites in our group. They’ve got a lot of experience in their squad and a fantastic coach to back them up. It will be an intense showdown. From our end, we aim to win all the matches ahead of us. That is our strategy, always has been, always will be.

3. As the head coach, what aspects of the team’s performance are you particularly pleased with, and where do you see room for improvement?

Suraj: Being a lately formed squad, I’m quite happy the way the players have responded to new information within the past 3 months which has led to the team being quite switched on the pitch, being aware of their roles in all phases of play. There’s loads to build from here which is a nice challenge in itself.

As you must have seen already, our team lacks goals at the moment, so a major room for improvement in that area obviously but no team is perfect and neither are we.

4. The team has remained unbeaten so far. How do you maintain such consistency, and what’s the mind-set going into each game?

Suraj: Our aim is to win every single game, we do not consider any opponent bigger or smaller than us and we set out to give our 100% on the pitch right from the kick off. We formed our team in September after all teams had already started playing their matches. This was when we began our search for players. But it never led us to think that we would be any lesser than all the other prepared teams, some of them with massive budgets.

5. Are there specific players who have stood out for you in terms of their contribution to the team’s success, and what qualities do they bring to the squad?

Suraj: Sameer Sawant has been an absolute weapon as a 10 and some other players like Pranav Sapa and Shubham Kale have really stepped up in defence when we needed them. We’ve been lucky to have 2 great goalkeepers in Shivam and Pratik. Some others put in a lot of effort in the games but yet are to see themselves on the scoresheet, which I believe will change shortly.

6. Lastly, what message would you like to convey to the supporters of Young Guns FA as you head into the decisive phase of the league?

Suraj: I’d thank the ones who already come down all the way from Thane, it’s not a short trip but encourage all the academy kids and Thane budding footballers to come down and cheer the biggest team from the city. Now even better that MFA is working on the stands to sit down on, should be a fantastic view for the final phase of the competition

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