Union Bank of India began their Mumbai Hockey Association Limited (MHAL) Super League campaign in style with a 3-0 win over Maharashtra State Police (MSP) at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgate yesterday.
Nitin Kumar (left) and Rajat Sharma celebrate a UBI goal. Pic/Suresh KK
Union Bank's midfielder Rajat Sharma scored a brace (46th & 57th minutes) between which Moses Pullanthara netted once (55th min).
The young side, comprising players on a monthly stipend, has been playing together for four years now which explains their synchronisation on the field and camaraderie in the team. Inevitably, it's the lure of a bank job that keeps them together.
"UBI have signed most of us on an eight-month contract at a stipend of Rs 5000 per month.
While it's a fair deal, most of us hope that success on the hockey field will help us get a job with the bank. We've given our best for this team and a secure job will help us settle on the career front and that in turn will result in a better performance for the team," said 20-year-old midfielder Nitin Kumar, who recently completed his graduation and was a part of the gold medal-winning Mumbai University team in 2011.
For striker Sharma (19), the only Mumbai boy in the core group of the junior India team, a job will help him support his widowed mother. "I lost my father (Mahendra) when I was barely one. Since then, it's my mother Ankita who has been my support system. It is my dream to get job with UBI."
UBI coach Deepak Joshi admitted he has a promising set of players at his disposal. "Today they have exceeded my expectations," he said.