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'Truly a factory of talent': Igor Stimac hails Ranjit Bajaj's Minerva Academy

Indian national football team head coach Igor Stimac visited the Minerva Academy in Mohali on Tuesday.

Truly a factory of talent: Igor Stimac hails Ranjit Bajajs Minerva Academy

Igor Stimac hails the Minerva Academy of Ranjit Bajaj


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 March 2024 5:40 PM GMT

Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian men's football team, hailed Ranjit Bajaj's Minerva Academy, calling it a 'factory of talent'.

"Thoroughly impressed with the facilities and more importantly the mindset at Minerva FC. It's truly a factory of talent," Stimac wrote on X after visiting the academy in Mohali on Tuesday.

Stimac returned to India ahead of India's FIFA World Cup Qualifiers second-round clash against Afghanistan on March 26 in Guwahati.

His post on social media came after Mumbai City FC's Vikram Pratap Singh, a Minerva alumnus, became the first Indian footballer of the ISL 2023-24 season to score a hat-trick.

"He went to the academy and asked me where to watch the ISL match between Mumbai City FC and Northeast United FC as he wanted to see how Chhangte and Vikram Partap Singh play and it proved right as Vikram scored a hat-trick and now he has gone for an I-League match today before heading back to Guwahati," Ranjit told The Bridge, explaining Stimac visit.

Minerva Academy has been focusing on youth development and has more than a hundred residential trainees honing their skills. The academy's U-13 boy's team won the Gothia Cup - club world cup for youths - in 2023.

Several top Indian players, including Anwar Ali and Vikram Pratap, graduated from the academy and went on to represent the country internationally.

Stimac is currently visiting various places in India and attending football matches to spot new talent. He recently went to Kolkata to watch the Indian Super League (ISL) derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium.

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