Defending I-League champions Minerva Punjab Football Club are all set to start their AFC Champions League campaign as they will take on Saipa FC of Iran Pro League on 12th February in the ACL Qualifiers. Saipa are currently standing 8th in the league ladder and are made up of mainly a bunch of young Irani talent.
Minerva Punjab on the other hand have pretty much revamped their foreign players’ department ahead of the continental competitions as club co-owner Ranjit Bajaj was not satisfied with the performance of most of their pre-existing foreigners. They roped in Mahmoud Al-Amna and Juan Barraso to strengthen the attacking midfield and one day ago they signed Ukrainian striker Roland Rassel Bilala who was in prolific form in the recently concluded Maldives Dhivehi Premier League for Green Streets FC scoring tons of goal in the season.
Minerva Punjab have registered four players for the AFC competition which is the maximum a club can register. The four players are Mahmoud Al-Amna, Juan Quero Barraso, Roland Rassel Bilala and Jorge Caicedo Rodriguez.
Colombian Jorge Caicedo Rodriguez will be leading the defence, Al-Amna and Barasso will be expected to increase their understanding in the midfield especially considering the not up-to-the-mark performance by the duo in the recent I-League game. Roland is yet to gel with the side as he has not played a single game for his new side but will be expected to utilize his ability of finding the net in the upcoming match and also in the long run.
In the meantime Minerva Punjab have parted ways with their Technical Director and Head Coach Paul Munster. So, they will require a Pro-license holder to be installed in the coaching seat soon. Although few names have been linked but the club is yet to officially announce the name of their next Head Coach.