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Santosh Trophy: Motivation an issue as Punjab, Services gear up for third-place match

Santosh Trophy: Motivation an issue as Punjab, Services gear up for third-place match

By B. Shrikant

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 3 (SocialNews.XYZ) Motivating themselves for the third-place match is quite difficult at any time as the players are a bit demoralised after losing the semifinal, for which they had prepared very hard. But teams from former champions Services and Punjab will be hoping to pick themselves up after their semifinals debacle and grab at last the consolation third place in the 7th National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy at the King Fahd International Stadium, here on Saturday.


Punjab skipper Rajat Kumar said they will try to correct the mistakes committed by them in their semifinal defeat to Meghalaya, conceding a late goal in a 2-1 defeat on Wednesday.

"We will try to correct the mistakes that we made in the previous game. And we have to try and get a good result. Tomorrow's match is the same match for which we had already prepared. This time, I was so confident about our youngsters in this team. We are confident we will do well tomorrow," Rajat said on the eve of their third-place match against Services, who were upset 1-3 by Karnataka in the other semifinal.

Coach Harjinder Singh said Saturday's clash with Services was the match they had prepared for, expecting them to play in the final.

"Obviously it's slightly sad that we've come so far and we wanted to lift the trophy and we ended up losing the semifinal. It obviously drops a lot of pressure on the boys and obviously, we're going to go into the third-place game. We have to fight for 3rd place and we want to end on a winning note," said the coach.

Coach Harjinder Singh said their lack of experience was the reason for their defeat in the semifinal as they are playing in this kind of match for the first time.

"Yeah all are fit. Most of the players are playing this level of football for the first time because some are from universities, college players. There are only 5-6 club players. After the defeat they were a little bit sad because this year they already were unbeaten in 10 matches and suffered their first defeat in the semis," said the coach.

"They lost and they were a little bit sad, but now I motivate them by telling them that this is a part of life. Every team, and every player in their whole life, will not win every match or not lose every match. So I motivate them. They are now thinking positively and I think, and I hope they will do their best," he added.

Services coach MG Ramachandran too is facing the same problem on how to motivate his players for the third-place match. He said he has told the players that this is now the all-important match as it will ensure that they will at least finish third in the tournament.

"Our mindset was really good, but we missed a few things in the last game. So in the semifinals, obviously we didn't play to our potential. So this is our final chance to get third place. So we are going with our full potential and our mindset doesn't change much. We are all motivated for tomorrow's match," said the coach from Tamil Nadu, who is posted in Bengaluru.

He said his boys did not play to their potential in the semi final defeat to Karnataka.

"According to me, the boys didn't play to their potential as we have shown in the final round back in India. There were some mistakes in defence. So that's the main point and the chances, the opponents will get chances. They converted, so that's also a drawback. They got around three or four chances and they converted three. So that is also a great setback for us. To get back into the game is very difficult for us," he said, adding that they will do their best not to commit the same mistakes in the third-place match.

Services skipper Bhabindra Malla Thakuri said the morale was a bit down after they lost the semifinal but the players have recovered now.

"We have talked to the players and motivated them. The morale has now improved and we are expecting the players to give their best in tomorrow's match," he said.

With both teams trying to pick up the pieces following their defeat in the semifinals, the team that will recover its nerves will emerge as the winner in the third-place match. The coaches know it and the players too know this. But whether they will be able to really motivate themselves to give their best on Saturday, only time will tell.

Source: IANS

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Santosh Trophy: Motivation an issue as Punjab, Services gear up for third-place match

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