Rangers Sports Club: Rewriting the rules of Delhi football
The club are revolutionizing the capital’s football scene with their modern methods and innovative ideas…
In a country of 1 billion people we crib about not playing in the FIFA World Cup and hope to make it to the tournament in 2026 or sometime in the next 25 years. The problem is not that we don’t have a talented pool of players. The problem is that there is no grassroots development so that these talented players could be nurtured into professionals to represent the nation in future. Until and unless there are improvements made at ground level, we can’t expect much at the upper echelons in the football ecosystem. But, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel.
Rangers SC is the brainchild of Pawan Kumar Mittal and Mohd. Aslam Baqui. Mittal is a chartered accountant by profession while Baqui has worked closely with the Indian cricket team and has travelled all around the world with them. The ideology behind the club was to promote talent and provide youth a platform to showcase their skills on the field. With this idea in mind, in 2013, Rangers SC got registered in the Delhi B Division and paid ₹8.5 lakh as registration fees.
Before their first season the club conducted trials and selected 22 talented kids from over 200 different schools to represent the team in the league. They bought some professional players from various states of India to add depth to the squad. With a mixture of young blood and professional experience they started their campaign by winning 9, drawing 1 and losing 2 of their 12 matches. They came 3rd in the league that season.
After playing in the Delhi league the board felt that the players needed more exposure and playing experience so they decided to take part in various all India tournaments.
They took part in their first open tournament in Ratlam, Maharashtra where they lost in the semi-final. The team kept improving and learning from each match and finally they tasted glory. In 2015, they won the Smt. Vijay Rajay Scindia tournament held in Gwalior. In the Final they defeated MP XI 4-0 and bagged a cash price of ₹1 lakh. By winning this tournament they created history, as for the first time a team from outside Madhya Pradesh had won it.
After learning from their first season and getting playing experience of various all India tournaments, the club was ready to make a mark in the Delhi B Division. The President (Pawan Kumar Mittal) and Secretary (Aslam Baqui) decided to take a professional approach. The club’s responsibilities were put on the shoulders of Liaqat Ali. The club’s administrative affairs were headed by him and he brought an instant change in the atmosphere. The club appointed two professional coaches. Pushpender Kundu, who is an AFC- C licensed coach and has a FIFA Youth Course under his belt. He is a former Delhi state player and holds the record for playing in the Santosh Trophy 18 times. Vikrant Sharma who has played for big clubs like Dempo Sports Club, Sesa Goa and various others in his prime acted as a player-coach and did justice to both his roles brilliantly. This time few talented kids got selected and more professional players were roped into the team. After the trials a squad of 22 players was shortlisted. U-19 players Gurucharan Singh, Ankur Prasad and Rajat Mishra were selected to play in the senior team.
After the team got finalized the club started preparing for 2016 season by making sure of their players safety. In this process they got all players insured for a sum of ₹1 lakh for the league which was never done before in Delhi football.
All players were paid on a monthly basis.
Team appointed a Kit Manger to take care of player kits.
Each player was given two training jerseys and two match jerseys.
A physio was appointed to take care of team fitness.
Team had two training grounds- Ambedkar Stadium, Jasola Sports Complex.
The management made sure that the players remain motivated throughout the league and announced a cash prize for the best player in each match and a bonus for winning the league.
The team changed their training schedule and started training six days a week 2-3 hours daily a month prior to the league. The club followed a highly modern approach and coaching techniques for the training sessions. Both the coaches made sure that players were fit and had enough match practice.
All these efforts finally paid off. The team became the undisputed champions of the B Division 2016. On course to the championship the team won 11 matches and drew only 1.The club scored a total of 37 goals which is a record in the B Division. Kushant Chauhan was the highest goalscorer and scored a total tally of 15 goals in the league.
This success has motivated the players and brought laurels to the club. The management has decided to award a cash prize to the team as promised and awards will be given in various categories for the outstanding players on the annual awards night.
Rangers SC is a new club which started two years back but it bought a revolution in the capital’s football culture. Their facilities and modern coaching techniques can match any top club playing in Delhi football. The club has set an example on how good infrastructure and administration can improve players’ performance and improve the overall success rate of the organization. The club has a vision to play in the I- league in the coming years and start their football academies.
Team list:- Vikrant Sharma , Hitender Rawat , Saurav Patra, Shaheen John, Kushant Chauhan , Pawan Joshi, Rajat Mishra, Sunny Chaudhary , Sailesh Maurya, Umashankar , Nikhil Sharma, Pankaj Negi, Mohit Kumar, Praveen Rawat, Anil Bara, Rohit Bhadana, Wilson Thapa, Akash, Nimit Bisht, Gursharan.
Physio: - Snehil Khurana
Coaches: - Pushpender Kundu, Vikrant Sharma
Editorial by Khel Now correspondent Vinayak Pandey. Vinayak is professional football player from Delhi. He has played for many clubs in Delhi . You can follow him on Twitter.
Published: Wed Nov 02, 2016 04:14 PM IST