UP Yoddha are ageing well in the seventh season of Pro Kabaddi League. They started the season with a series of losses and those defeats are the reason why they have a point differential of -56 and sit at seventh position in the table. But they have made amends and after three consecutive victories against top opponents, a sign of improvement is visible. However, the summit of the mountain is still too far.
It's now or never for Yoddha. The league is already into its second phase and a hiccup here could mean the end of the road for the UP team. The one man who the Yoddha are hugely dependent is raider Monu Goyat. But there lies a big worry. He's had a below-average outing so far. The star raider has a mere 46 points in 9 games so far and has a success percent of less than 40 when it comes to pulling off a raid. Goyat has not been part of the three victories that Yoddha pulled off as he is recovering from an ankle injury. However, the Bhiwani-born player feels he is going to get better as the tournament progresses.
"I believe that every player goes through bad form and has their share of ups and downs due to injuries. But if we work hard, we can come back strongly. I tried to do my best against Delhi, but I ended up twisting my ankle. There are still 10-11 matches left and I intend to perform better in each match."
Injuries are not new to Goyat, who suffered many injury issues last season as well while playing for Haryana Steelers. His performance was not up to the mark, certainly less than the price paid by the franchise.
Yoddha invested in him to solidify the attack but it hasn't worked out so far. Goyat was honest to admit that. "We have tried our best but often the results have not gone our way, particularly when it comes to having positive results on the trot. Primarily, I feel the reason is that we have fallen short on the attacking front. In addition, we are probably one of the youngest teams in the league. Hence, on occasions due to pressure, the defence has not been able to hold their positions."
The victories in the last three matches have done a lot of good to the team's confidence and according to Goyat, that is due to players being open to criticism and learning from their errors. He said, "Everyone is gaining experience and performing much better than before. Players are more confident now as we keep learning from our mistakes and therefore, we've won three matches. The main focus of the team is to take all the matches seriously. Work on our weakness, make our defence and raiding more strong and win all upcoming matches and get the points.
"The first match is always good to learn as it's the first time the team works together on a matchday and understand all the weaknesses. This keeps getting better as more matches are played. Being at this position in the points table is not as bad as the score difference between the teams is not that much. Winning 2-3 matches back to back can help us get on top of the table."
Yoddha's next match is against last year's finalists Gujarat Fortunegiants who are stuck in a similar situation. Yoddha are ahead of them in the points table but Goyat feels taking them easy can cause a huge setback to the team. He said, "Knowing the fact that we are ahead, boosts our morale because if we win, we can jump to the fifth spot. But they are a really good team and their raiding and defence are good so we cannot take them lightly just because they are trailing. We are going into the match confident and we will do our best to win."
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Updated Date: Sep 09, 2019 14:00:42 IST