Minerva Punjab in a soup over bust-up between technical director, owner

Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) Struggling I-League football outfit Minerva Punjab FC is a divided house with just-appointed technical director Colm Toal and majority owner, founder, and executive director Ranjit Bajaj engaging in an altercation over technical decisions before their game against Mumbai FC on Saturday, sources close to the development said.

Toal, India’s veteran youth team coach, has just taken over the responsibility to steer the team out of choppy waters after a poor start to their maiden top flight season which saw them dwell at the foot of the table.

But on Saturday ahead of their seventh-round game against Mumbai, a match which they won 2-1, Toal’s preferred team selection and formation was rejected by Bajaj who, it was learnt, set out his own team full of youngsters which irked the US-based 66-year-old.

Toal later said he would step down from his position as his decisions were not being paid heed to.

“There was an altercation between Bajaj and Toal before the match regarding team and formation,” a source told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“Toal has said he does not wish to continue after Bajaj took all the credit for the win against Mumbai and left him (Toal) fuming,” the source further revealed.

Before Saturday’s win over Mumbai at home in a seventh-round clash, where Baoringdao Bodo became the youngest player in the league’s history to find the back of the net at the age of 17, Minerva had lost four of their six outings, eking out goalless draws in the other two.

The newly inducted side, skippered by striker Manandeep Singh, had harrowing times against heavyweights East Bengal (0-5) and Mohun Bagan (0-4) and before they take on Bengaluru FC next Saturday, the management thought it would be wise to remove Surinder Singh and rope in a new coach.

Minerva are now ninth in the 10-team points table having five points from seven matches.