After all the thrills, emotions and drama, VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7 has come to an end with Bengal Warriors winning their maiden title on Saturday.
Gujarat Fortune Giants finished 9th in the table with 51 points, and while some fans might argue that this season was a let down as Sachin Tanwar didn’t show his prowess, and Sunil & Parvesh failed to shoulder the responsibility; this season was more about the learning.
On a brighter note, we saw three rising stars emerge and shine like beacons in the dark. One of them was our captain Rohit Gulia, who steadied the ship and bailed us out whenever we were in trouble. His Super 10s gave us constant hope and kept us in the hunt for a playoffs spot until the final phase of the league.
We also saw an extremely talented Sonu Jaglan showing a lot of promise, hunger and desire in the limited opportunities he got. Then our left-corner defender Pankaj, who had a dream debut against Jaipur Pink Panthers with a great High-5, delivered a staggering performance against Telugu Titans. Sonu and Pankaj soon became Manpreet’s go-to men in the final phase of the league and have proved their mettle to become the next big prospects in Pro Kabaddi League.
Apart from the new talents, the steely determination and never-say-die attitude shown by the Giants in some of the matches were unforgettable. One such instance was against Bengal Warriors in our home leg where our fans were treated to a Sunil Kumar special. With two defenders on the mat, and an 8-point deficit to overcome, Sunil ensured we crawl our way back into the contest with stunning super tackles and almost single-handedly tried to steer us to an epic win that night. The Giants may have encountered some heartbreaking defeats at home, but we never looked defeated as a team.
We produced a scintillating performance to overpower Bengaluru Bulls at their home den. Pulling off a season double over Bengaluru Bulls not only healed the wounds of those six losses on the trot but satiated the Giants’ hunger to win.
It’s always hard to swallow when the opposition snatches a victory from the jaws of defeat, and the Giants have been unlucky to lose a lot of matches from a winning position. Despite the team failing to meet the expected standards, Manpreet’s faith on his team remained intact throughout.
During all his pep talk between the match proceedings, he encouraged the Giants to take calculated risks rather than playing the safe game. Except for the match against Haryana Steelers, where the Giants were completely outplayed, we were in the hunt for the top-6 and Manpreet himself acknowledged the same in his final press conference.
“The fact remains that we were always in the hunt. Apart from that one blemish, which was our match against Haryana Steelers in Delhi, we have been in a position to either win or tie right until the end. The matches that we lost were quite close.” said Manpreet
The Giants started their Season 7 journey on the right track with comprehensive wins but ended up being in the bottom half of the table. The overall highlight, however, are the learning on how to improve on our shortcomings. We will definitely come with a lot of fire in our bellies and aim to win the elusive title next season.