There was a real sense of unexpectedness as fresh faces from all over the United Kingdom headed into the Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre for Sunday’s Panjab FA training session. Chairman Harpreet Singh had already filled in the try-out players over the phone on what the club is about, and its plans for the near future
One mindset was unanimously shared amongst the new arrivals – I thought I would to check it out.
In the summer, manager Reuben Hazell along with Singh expressed his desire to form an adult team in addition to their U21s before next year’s CONIFA World Cup in Abkhazia.
Having reached out to various academies and semi-professional clubs, 21 Asian footballers turned out to contest their skills on an immaculate Lilleshall pitch, which for years England trained on. The yellow-stripped trainees were put through their paces with sharp drills, controlled games and shooting practices.
Kidderminster Harriers forward Gurjit Singh was also in attendance today to see what the project had planned. ‘Gaz’ did not take physical part in the session as he is still recovering from an injury which has side-lined him in the National League for the last six weeks, but said he was impressed with what he has seen so far: “It sounds very promising, obviously I spoke to Harpreet and he seems very passionate. He has got a vision for this and I do see it getting bigger and better.”
As the floodlights beamed down on the players walking off the pitch at 5pm the mood amongst the players and coaches had changed from earlier. Belief in the product was already being instilled. An impressive standard was on display from a team, which would certainly close the gap against World Cup favourites Ellan Vannin – whom beat Panjab FA 9-1 earlier this year.
Chairman Singh has expressed that this is still only the beginning of the adventure. “The project is still a 15 month old baby…”
Panjab FA eagerly anticipate the announcement for the participating FA nations in January, for the 2016 CONIFA World Cup, which runs from 28th May to 5th June. Before that they expect to announce fixtures shortly.
Report by Rajen Bagri