Gujarat Fortunegiants eyes a perfect home run

Gujarat Fortunegiants is looking at the bright side of playing its first home of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League at The Arena by Transstadia in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Captain Sukesh Hegde and coach Manpreet Singh in Ahmedabad on Thursday.   -  G. Viswanath

Gujarat Fortunegiants is looking at the bright side of playing its first home of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League at The Arena by Transstadia here on Friday.

Captain Sukesh Hegde and coach Manpreet Singh believe their team is not under any sort of pressure. After playing three matches (two in Hyderabad and one in Nagpur), the team is placed fourth — behind Puneri Paltan, U Mumba and Haryana Steelers — in Group ‘A’. But it is hopeful of making the knock-out cut.

Owned by Gautam Adani, the Fortunegiants will play six matches in seven days starting with a brush against former champions U Mumba which is led by the canny and indefatigable Anup Kumar.  

After a three-hour work out at the SAI Centre at Gandhinagar here on Thursday, team’s top raider and captain Hegde said: “We have come here after getting results (points) in two matches. We won the first match (against Daband Delhi KC), tied the second (against Haryana Steelers) and lost the third (to Haryana Steelers). We will be playing six matches (in seven days) at our home ground and that’s why all are important. If we do well, we should be able to clinch a berth in the knock out. The work load will be heavy, but we are prepared and ready for it. There are no injuries.’’

Hegde admitted that his team made small mistakes in the last ten minutes of the match against the Steelers in Nagpur. “The full team played well in the first two matches and till the 30th minute of the match against Steelers. We have practised well, seen videos and planning for the match against U Mumbai. Anup is a very good and experienced player. We will play with more energy and the crowd will back us,’’ said the 28-year-old Hegde.

Coach Manpreet highlighted on the experience his team gathered in the first three games (one win, a tie and a loss). “This I see as a benefit to the team. The environment is good and we will work on our weakness. Winning and losing are part of the game, but what is important is, how we play kabaddi. We will give our best shot; we will have the support of the audience, the social media has enabled the team to connect with its fans. We will give a good ‘takkar’ with U Mumbai and will wait for the outcome of the match.’’