With the 2017-18 I-League season around the corner, Apollo Tyres has associated with Mohali-based Minerva Punjab FC (MPFC) as its title sponsors for a five-year contract. MPFC managed to keep its flag flying high against all odds since its inception in the top flight of Indian football in 2016.
Satish Sharma, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), Apollo Tyres Ltd, said: “It would be our pleasure to be associated with Minerva Punjab FC and contribute to Indian sports, especially at the grassroots level of football, where MPFC is already doing a fantastic job. This will also help us connect and engage with the fans of this club in the northern part of the country.”
This association with Apollo Tyres comes at a great time for the Punjabi Warriors who debuted in the Hero I-League just a season back with a very young team. The blues also managed to defend its AIFF Youth League/Nike Premier Cup title for two consecutive seasons (2015 and 2016), becoming the only team in the country to do so. Minerva Punjab FC also contributed more than 30 players in various age groups to the national team, including the ‘notable 4’ for the Indian U17 FIFA World Cup Team — Mohd Shahjahan, Nongdamba Naorem, Anwar Ali and India’s historic goal scorer in a FIFA World Cup tournament, Jeakson Singh.
Elaborating on the partnership, Ranjit Bajaj, owner and CEO, Minerva Punjab FC, said: “Minerva Punjab FC is a brand new team of youngsters looking to make their presence felt in the top footballing contests of India. It gives us immense pleasure to be able to partner with the country’s leading tyre maker Apollo Tyres and bring them on board as our title sponsors. They have already been associated with some of the biggest clubs in world football and we are delighted by this opportunity and look forward to a great season together.”
This would be Apollo Tyres’ first partnership with a Hero I-League team after having established a successful alliance with various top brands in world football. The company is currently the Global Tyre Partner for English Premier League clubs Manchester United and Crystal Palace, in addition to its association with Borussia Monchengladbach in the German Bundesliga. Recently, the tyre major announced its entry into the Indian football arena by becoming the principal sponsor for the Indian Super League team, Chennaiyin FC.