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Union Bank of India Seizes Premier Corporate Division Title with Unbeaten Streak

In a thrilling display of youthful vigor and strategic gameplay, Union Bank of India (UBI) secured the Premier Corporate Division title in the Mumbai Football Association (MFA) League. The decisive moment came with a 2-0 triumph in their concluding league match against HDFC Bank at the Neville D’Souza ground in Bandra on Sunday.

Elvin Fernandes found the net in the 23rd minute, setting the pace for UBI. Brandon Fernandes sealed the victory with a critical goal in the 49th minute, ensuring their dominion over HDFC Bank. The win was not just another feather in their cap but marked a significant milestone in their unbeaten campaign throughout the league season. With an impressive record of eight wins and two draws, UBI amassed a total of 26 points, equaling Indian Navy’s performance in the 11-team league. However, UBI’s superior goal difference of plus 20 (29 goals scored, 9 conceded) compared to Navy’s plus 17 (21 goals scored, 4 conceded) saw them emerge as the champions.

“[The victorious UBI team with the winner’s trophy]”

Coach Ryan D’Souza, a former Jr India international, played a pivotal role in guiding the team to this remarkable achievement. D’Souza’s sentiments encapsulated the essence of the team’s journey: “Building a team from scratch every year is a tough task. The biggest challenges we faced was learning to work together with this new set of players,” he revealed in a post-match interview with mid-day.

The season was grueling, with each team vying for the top spot, but it was the encounter with the Indian Navy that truly tested their mettle. “Navy were our toughest opponent. And I was very proud to see the way our young guns—mostly 21 or 22 years old—held their much tougher and senior navy counterparts to a 2-2 draw. That was the clincher for us,” D’Souza remarked. His pride is evident, especially considering the age factor and experience differential against more seasoned teams like the Navy. This draw proved crucial in ensuring that UBI stayed in contention for the title, underlining the young squad’s resilience and capability.

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Notably, the UBI squad is a composite of young and dynamic players, the majority of whom are in their early 20s. Their performance this season serves as a testament to their potential and the effective coaching strategies implemented by D’Souza. The fusion of youthful energy and strategic mastery led them to an unbeaten streak, something that’s hard to come by in competitive football.

Moreover, their tactical prowess was on full display throughout the season. The offensive line, led by the Fernandeses, demonstrated remarkable coordination and precision, often dismantling the defenses of competing teams. The defensive strategies deployed ensured minimal goals conceded, highlighting a balanced approach between attack and defense that set them apart from their rivals.

UBI’s remarkable achievement did not go unnoticed, with football enthusiasts and analysts praising their growth and performance. The league triumph is not just a victory in its own right but also an indicator of the promising future for these young athletes. The success in the Premier Corporate Division augurs well for the individual careers of these players, many of whom are on the radar for higher-level competitions and potential national team call-ups.

Reflecting on the season, D’Souza credits much of the success to the team’s collective spirit and the rigorous training regimen they adhered to, despite the challenges presented by the fresh assembly of players each year. The title win is a validation of their hard work, dedication, and the effective tactical frameworks laid out by the coaching staff.

With the Premier Division title under their belt, UBI has set a new benchmark for corporate football teams. Their journey this season demonstrates that with the right guidance, team cohesion, and strategic planning, even a team with relatively lesser experience can achieve great heights. The young guns of UBI have etched their names in the annals of the MFA League’s history, heralding a new era of competitive spirit and excellence in corporate football.

As the season draws to a close, all eyes are now on what’s next for the promising talents at UBI. With such a solid foundation and an upward trajectory, the football fraternity eagerly anticipates their future exploits on the field.