FC Goa News

FC Goa play three games away before home clash due to U-17 Women’s World Cup
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa’s new head coach Carlos Pena will have just over a month until his new-look side face East Bengal in their first game of this season’s Indian Super League (ISL) on October 12.The league’s most consistent team to make the playoffs, FC Goa endured a forgetful campaign last season, finishing ninth among 11 teams. “The challenge is big for everyone, not only for me. Big for all the players because they come after finishing ninth in the league and it is not good for anyone in the club,” Pena had previously told TOI. FC Goa will play two more away games against Chennaiyin FC (October 21) and defending champions Hyderabad FC (October 29) before playing their first home game.The home games for FC Goa have not been scheduled for October since the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda will host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.The ISL was played entirely in Goa behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. But on November 3, FC Goa will welcome fans back to the stadium when they face Jamshedpur FC.“For the players, for us as coaches we have a new challenge, a new season, we are excited. It is a new opportunity and chance for everyone, so we are looking forward to improving,” said Pena.The two-time runnersup are rebuilding the team along with former player Pena and have recruited five new foreigners. They have only retained Spanish midfielder Edu Bedia, now into his sixth season at the club.“The most important thing now is not talking about the players but the team. Because we are working to build a strong team,” said Pena.FC Goa’s hopes of making it to the semifinals this time has increased with the organisers introducing a new format for the playoff stages.The top two teams at the end of the league stage will automatically qualify for the semifinals. Teams finishing between the third and sixth positions will then take part in a single-leg playoff to determine the other two semi-finalists.

FC Goa play three games away before home clash due to U-17 Women’s World Cup
FC Goa hold Bengaluru FC to 2-2 draw in Durand Cup
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

FC Goa bowed out of the Durand Cup football tournament on a high after their young side held a Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC to an entertaining 2-2 draw in a Group A match here on Tuesday.The defending champions Goan side came from behind in the second half to share the spoils with Phrangki Buam (53rd minute) and Lesly Rebello (64th) scoring to cancel out first half goals from Sunil Chhetri (24th) and N Siva Sakthi (26th).The Blues dominated the game from the start and had the majority of the possession in the first half.They did not give the Gaurs any chance to settle down in the game.Moments from the Second Half! 🖼️#BFCFCG ⚔️#VYBK 🏟️#DurandCup 🏆#IndianOilDurandCup 🏆#DurandCup2022 🏆#131stIndianOilDurandCup 🏆#IndianFootballForwardTogether 🤝#IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/JZe9SvBCX2— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) August 30, 2022The first goal came in the 24th minute from a free- kick, after Rohit Kumar was fouled just outside the box. Chhetri curled one delightfully into the top right corner to give Bengaluru FC a deserving lead.It was the talisman’s third goal of the tournament.Bengaluru continued to dominate the proceedings with Bruno Ramires in thick of things, providing accurate passes to wingers Udanta Singh and Namgyal Bhutia. The pair were always willing to run into the open spaces left by the Goan defence.One such ball from Bruno found Udanta who headed it across the six-yard box for Siva Sakthi to score his second of the tournament and double BFC’s lead.BFC began the second half brightly but FC Goa showed more vigour and hunger to come back in the game. The Goans started to press higher up the pitch, creating more chances. The BFC midfield and defence came under pressure and conceded the first goal from a blunder.A weak header to the keeper by Rohit Kumar was poached by Buam, who rounded off goalie Amrit Gope to finish with consummate ease.Goa continued to attack and the second goal came in the 63rd minute from a darting run by Vasim Inamdar, who pushed the ball ahead for captain Lesley Rebello to send the ball in between the keeper’s legs.The Gaurs ended their Durand Cup campaign with four points while Bengaluru have seven points from three games.Bengaluru will play Mohammedan Sporting on September 2 to decide Group A winners.

FC Goa hold Bengaluru FC to 2-2 draw in Durand Cup
Moroccan winger Sadaoui keen to impress at FC Goa, says his game suits Pena’s tactics
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa tracked Morocco international Noah Sadaoui for three years before managing to convince him to move to the Indian Super League (ISL).Sadaoui was close to making a move two years ago but decided to stay in Morocco. When FC Goa came calling again this season to step into the boots of Jorge Ortiz, the Moroccan knew about the club, country and the league, so deciding on his next destination wasn’t all that difficult.“This is a change, but I am excited,” the 28-year-old winger told TOI after a training session at Salvador do Mundo ground, recently. “Everybody has been very welcoming since I joined the team. I am very excited and happy about this opportunity. Hope I do well.”Sadaoui has had playing stints with clubs in South Africa, Israel, Oman and Morocco. He’s tasted success at a few places and decided this was the best time to take up another challenge.The winger brings to the side a winning mentality, having won the African Nations Championship 2020 when Morocco defeated Mali 2-0 to emerge champions. He has four international caps which includes a semifinal and final appearance in the African Nations Championship, a competition reserved for players who ply their trade in domestic leagues of their country.FC Goa finished a poor ninth last season, but there is a strong belief that former player and now new head coach Carlos Pena can rebuild the squad.“I think my type of play fits his (Pena’s) tactics. I’m willing to listen, learn and just to do what the coach wants us to do. Hope we have an amazing year, “ said Sadaoui.FC Goa have changed five of their six foreign players and have retained only Edu Bedia, who is now into his sixth season at the club.“The ISL is coming up with more teams, it’s developing, and I think it has a great future. I want to score goals, give assists and help the team as much as I can, “ said Sadaoui, who can play anywhere across the front line.The winger replaces last season’s star Jorge Ortiz who has since made a move to China. If Sadaoui can live up to the hype, FC Goa will have plenty to cheer.s

Moroccan winger Sadaoui keen to impress at FC Goa, says his game suits Pena’s tactics
FC Goa’s objective is to build a strong team that is different, says head coach Carlos Pena
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa coach Carlos Pena didn’t seem out of place when he took charge of the team’s training session in preparation for the next edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).The Spaniard is not new to Goa.After all, Pena spent two seasons at the club as a player from 2018 to 20. The 38-year-old will use this to his advantage as he looks to rebuild FC Goa after a forgettable season when they finished ninth.Since the league’s inception in 2014, Goa have been the most consistent side, making it to the play-offs on a regular basis. They finished runnersup on two occasions and Pena wants to break the title jinx.“My objective is to build a strong team this season,” Pena told TOI on Saturday. “I have to recover the level of some players. I think they are better than what they showed last season and we are working on that. We have new additions and we are now thinking only to build a strong group and make our fans enjoy football.”Goa are known for their attractive style of football and the players will be boosted with the presence of fans in the stands.The ISL was played inside a bio-secure bubble with empty stadiums for the last two years. The league was played entirely at a single venue – Goa.On Saturday when Goa opened the doors of training, fans turned out in large numbers at the Salvador do Mundo ground, Goa’s training base.The fan presence certainly made a difference. “Very happy with the work of the guys. Very happy with the support of the fans. It’s a very special day for us because they (team) haven’t played with them for the last two years. This season is going to be special because we can meet the fans again at the stadium and we are looking forward to that,” said Pena. From last season’s foreign players, Goa have retained only Spanish midfielder and captain Edu Bedia, the club’s longest-serving foreigner now into his sixth season here.From the five new foreign players, only Alvaro Vazquez has experience of playing in India, having led the Kerala Blasters FC frontline last season. Moroccan midfielder Noah Sadaoui, Syrian defender Fares Arnaout and Spaniards Marc Valiente and Iker Guarrotxena are all new to India.“I am very happy with the squad I have. I think we have signed very good players and know some of them. We also have great players here that have remained with us, so I’m very happy with the commitment they are showing now. I think it is time to build a good team that is different,” said Pena.

FC Goa’s objective is to build a strong team that is different, says head coach Carlos Pena
All you need to know about Durand Cup 2022: Teams, Schedule, Timings, Venues and more
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The 131st edition of the Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament in Asia, kicked off on Tuesday with Mohammedan Sporting beating defending champions FC Goa 3-1. The competition also marks the beginning of the Indian domestic football season.Founded in 1888 by the former Foreign Secretary of British India, Mortimer Durand, the Durand Cup was initially played only amongst the armed services but was later opened for professional football clubs across the country.Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are the the joint-most successful teams in the history of the competition with 16 titles each to their name. FC Goa won the cup last year after a tense 1-0 win over Mohammedan Sporting in the final. Here’s all you need to know about the 2022 edition of the Durand Cup.TeamsThe number of teams participating has gone up from 16 to a total of 20, spread across four groups. All 11 Indian Super League clubs will be featuring in the competition. In addition, five I-League clubs and four teams from the Armed Forces will be taking part. Mumbai City FC, Odisha FC and NorthEast United will be making their competition debut. Winners of the 2019 Durand Cup, Gokulam Kerala FC will not be participating though.Group A:FC GoaMohammedan SportingBengaluru FCJamshedpur FCIndian Air ForceGroup B:East BengalATK Mohun Bagan,Mumbai City FCRajasthan United FCIndian NavyGroup C:Neroca FCTrau FCHyderabad FC Chennaiyin FCArmy RedGroup D:Odisha FCNorthEast United FCKerala BlastersSudeva Delhi FCArmy GreenVenues The competition, for the first time in its history, is being played across multiple cities in West Bengal, Assam and Manipur. Below is the list of the venues hosting the 2022 Durand Cup.Matches The Durand Cup 2022 shall be played from August 16 to September 18.Where can I watch the Durand Cup 2022 on TV in India?All the Durand Cup 2022 matches will be telecast on the Sports18 network in India.Where do I watch the Durand Cup 2022 matches on the internet?The Durand cup 2022 matches will be available for live streaming on Voot Select and JioTV.

All you need to know about Durand Cup 2022: Teams, Schedule, Timings, Venues and more
Durand Cup: Super sub Faslu Rahman help Mohammedan beat FC Goa 3-1
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Kolkata giants Mohammedan SC kicked off their Durand Cup campaign with a stunning 3-1 come-from-behind win over defending champions FC Goa here on Tuesday.FC Goa drew the first blood when young midfielder Muhammad Nebil struck from a counter attack to give his side an early lead.The Black Panthers had to wait until the second half to find an equaliser when in the 49th minute 29-year-old Manipur forward Pritam Singh drew parity off a delightful cross from winger Sheikh Faiaz.Moments from the Second Half! 🖼️#MDSFCG ⚔️#VYBK 🏟️#DurandCup 🏆#IndianOilDurandCup 🏆#DurandCup2022 🏆#IndianFootballForwardTogether 🤝#IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/XxHHFEKW1G— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) August 16, 2022Egged on by a boisterous home support, Mohammedan SC brought in midfielder Faslu Rahman in the 78th minute of the game, and the 27-year-old gave headed the ball into the net and earned MSC the all-important just six minutes later.Rahman was also instrumental in the third and final goal as he assisted skipper Marcus Joseph in the 93rd minute who sealed the deal and put the final nail in the coffin.𝐅𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞!A remarkable second half performance by @MohammedanSC helps them to make a sensational comeback (𝟑-𝟏) win over defending champions @FCGoa. A terrific start by the Kolkata Giants. #MDSFCG ⚔️#VYBK 🏟️#DurandCup 🏆#IndianOilDurandCup 🏆#IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/uEPhISD3it— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) August 16, 2022Mohammedan could have made it 4-1 but three of its players failed to convert a sure-shot goal in the 96th minute following a pandemonium in FC Goa’s box.With this win, the Black Panthers clinched the all-important three points and lead their Group A table.

Durand Cup: Super sub Faslu Rahman help Mohammedan beat FC Goa 3-1
  • Durand Cup: Defending champions FC Goa face Mohammedan Sporting test in opener
  • The Indian Express

    Defending champions FC Goa will clash with local giants Mohammedan Sporting Club in the opening Group A game of the 131st Durand Cup here on Tuesday. FC Goa had claimed their maiden Durand Cup title after beating Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 in the summit clash of the last edition in October last year.The first game of the tournament gets underway amidst a build-up which saw a Trophy tour of five-cities including Guwahati and Imphal, the two first time host cities. The Goan side is brimming with young talent and Mohammedan Sporting coach Andrey Chernyshov of Russia reiterated the importance of a win to open the season.“We all remember that we lost to FC Goa in the last final. Of course, this will give us additional motivation in this match,” he said in a release. “But we also understand that this is the opening match of the tournament and is an additional excitement. We have lot of new players that we want to see in serious games. Therefore, it is very important for us to start the tournament with a win.” The Gaurs, who are being managed by Deggie Cardozo this time look to grasp the opportunity of performing on the big stage.The young side will be led by Muhammed Nemil, who first caught Sunil Chetri’s attention during the previous edition of the Durand with a wonder goal. Phrangki Buam and Ayush Chetri also lend a lot of solidity to the line-up.“We’re excited to kick-start our Durand Cup campaign on Tuesday. They may have done their homework but so have we, and our focus is completely on ourselves and what we can do to get a good result,” Cardozo said.“Starting the tournament on a positive note, with a good result is important and that is what we hope to do on Tuesday. That the match will be held in front of fans gives us some extra motivation.” The Black and White brigade, on the other hand, have retained the nucleus of last year’s squad with Trinidadian marksman Marcus Joseph still leading the lines. Milan Singh in midfield and Abhishek Ambekar will bring in the experience, while the likes of Tajik national-team recruit Nuriddin Davronov brings in the likely x-factor.Star singers at Opening CeremonyThe build-up to the game will see a short and lively opening ceremony, with bands of the Armed Forces on display as well as a performance by star singers Papon and Rewben Mashangwa, of the tournament theme song.The ceremony will conclude with the playing of the FIFA Theme song.

We are keen to create impact: FC Goa coach Cardozo
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Deggie Cardozo, the head coach of FC Goa, says his players are determined to make an impact when they begin their title defence with a match against Mohammedan SC in Durand Cup opener here on Tuesday.The Gaurs arrived for the tournament on Sunday ahead of the club’s third campaign at the tournament, having previously played in the 2019 and 2021 editions.So far, the team has remained unbeaten in the tournament and would look to extend its solid run, but it is easier said than done considering the number of tough opponents.Cardozo said the squad is upbeat about their chances in the competition.” Our players have trained well and are in good spirits. They are aware that playing in the prestigious tournament is a good opportunity for them, and are hence keen to create an impact,” he said, ahead of the team’s clash against the Kolkata-based club.Nearly there ⚽⏳#ForcaGoa #AmcheGaurs #DurandCup2022 pic.twitter.com/6yt5ndVgWt— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) August 13, 2022“Our training session on Monday was quite fruitful. The whole squad worked in unison and we were able to discuss some key areas as far as preparation for the games are concerned.”The Boys in Orange, coming to the tournament with the tag of the defending champions, are expected to play out their campaign opener in front of packed stands rooting for the home team. Cardozo added that this serves as extra motivation for the team.”We are not under any pressure. Our objectives are clear – be the best versions of ourselves and try to get the trophy back home. Playing in front of the fans would inspire us more and help us remember what we’re here for, and we look forward to having a great match against Mohammedan SC,” he said.”We intend to take the three points home on Monday, as that will give us an added boost. Starting on a strong note is important, as it will set the tone for the rest of our campaign.” Lesly Rebello, the team captain also weighed in as he said, “We would love to defend our title. Keeping that objective in mind, we have been giving it our all in training and hence we hope to have a good set of games.” “Another thing that I look forward to is playing in front of the fans. As a footballer, you dream of such situations.”On Tuesday, we intend to make the most out of the opportunity and convert their presence to a motivating factor that will help us go the extra mile for a win and three points,” the 22-year-old added.The Black and White brigade on the other hand have retained the nucleus of last year’s squad with Trinidadian marksman Marcus Joseph still leading the lines.Players like Milan Singh in midfield and Abhishek Ambekar bring in the experience with the likes of former Lokomotiv Moscow and Tajik national-team recruit Nuriddin Davronov bringing in the x-factor.Top Sports News NowIndependence Day special: The Raj Era Cricket vs Polo fight, featuring Mahatma Gandhi, and also Jerry SeinfeldWhy CWG silver medallist Murali Sreeshankar has taken vow not to eat Kerala parottaIs Aubameyang headed to Chelsea and will PSG keep their hands off Rashford?Click here for more The clash between FC Goa and Mohammedan SC will take place at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

We are keen to create impact: FC Goa coach Cardozo
Young FC Goa players eager to perform: Deggie
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa are making sure their developmental side is given enough opportunities to showcase their potential.The team which plays regularly in the Goa Professional League put up a good showing in the Development League in April and has now been entrusted with the task of defending the Durand Cup title.Last year, FC Goa took their first team and included foreign players for Asia’s oldest football tournament. They triumphed, but have decided to field their reserves for this season’s competition.Development team head coach Deggie Cardozo will shoulder the responsibility of the campaign, with guidance from technical director Derrick Pereira.“In terms of understanding, there won’t be any problems for us,” Cardozo told TOI during an online interaction on Thursday. “The team has performed very well (in the development league) and we are looking forward to the Durand Cup. We will perform well.”Four first team players, goalkeeper Hrithik Tiwari, Muhammed Nemil, Phrangki Buam and new signing Ayush Chhetri, will spearhead FC Goa’s challenge in the absence of foreigners and other senior players.“We are the defending champions and need to get back the trophy to Goa. Our preparation was good, our young players are eager to get to Kolkata and perform,” said Cardozo. In the last edition, Nemil was one of the star performers with four goals and two assists, along with Devendra Murgaonkar. However, the 20-year-old Kerala youngster, who had training stints in Spain, managed only 362 minutes across 14 games in the Indian Super League (ISL).He is now ready to prove himself again.“I don’t think there is much difference in what I do. I am going to try my best more than last year. And I’m going to try my best to help my team win the title again,” said Nemil.Goa will kickstart their campaign against Mohammedan SC on August 16 in what will be a repeat of last year’s final which the Goans won 1-0 with an extra time strike from captain Edu Bedia.Goa are in Group A alongside Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force.Squad: Goalkeepers: Hrithik Tiwari, Hansel Coelho, Bob Jackson. Defenders: Delzan Passanha, Rayan Menezes, Lesly Rebello (captain), Aditya Salgaonkar, Mallikjan Kalegar, Deeshank Kunkalikar, Salman Faris. Midfielders: Lalremruata HP, Velroy Fernandes, Delton Colaco, Malsawmtluanga, Davis Fernandes, Rayan Menezes, Anthony Fernandes, Ayush Chhetri, Muhammed Nemil, Shannon Viegas. Forwards: Vasim Inamdar, Phrangki Buam, Mevan Dias, Jovial Dias, Salgeo Dias, Jordan Borges.

Young FC Goa players eager to perform: Deggie
It was tough to leave Goa, but I made the right decision: Liston Colaco
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Liston Colaco’s decision to leave the comfort of his home was tough but necessary, according to the forward who has since grown into one of India’s more lethal attacking option.Colaco, 23, spent two and half seasons at FC Goa, largely seated on the bench or in the stands. His potential was never in doubt, proof of which was the transfer fee that Goa paid Salgaocar FC to free him from his contract. But limited game time in the Indian Super League (ISL) meant the young forward had to make an important call.“It was tough,” Colaco told TOI. “To leave my hometown, it was difficult, but as a professional, you need to make these sacrifices. I made the right decision.”The ATK Mohun Bagan star who finished as the highest Indian scorer in the ISL with eight goals and was the only domestic player in the top 15 played all games for the Kolkata club last season.At Hyderabad FC the previous year, he played 19 games and scored two goals, a big leap from his two and half seasons at Goa where he got just 79 minutes as a late substitute.“The prime reason why I left FC Goa is because I was not getting playing time. I used to not like to come from home for the matches to sit in the stands. I wanted to play, that’s why I made the decision.“I was not sure about it at the start because I had never played outside Goa. Then I made my mind up and decided to make the move, whatever happens. The last two seasons were (played) inside a bio-secure bubble (in Goa), so it did not affect me,” said Colaco.While the Davorlim lad first moved to Hyderabad from Goa on a free transfer during the January window in 2020, ATK Mohun Bagan then broke the bank to take him to Kolkata in a record transfer deal.Last season, Colaco had everything going for him as he scored several “Golazos.” His best, though, came against Goa when he beat Seriton Fernandes with a feint and then unleashed a ferocious strike from 30 yards out that swerved right to bamboozle goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.At the end of the season, he was the toast of the nation.At home, there was even a song in his honour ‘Davorlechem Noketr’ or Star of Davorlim.“I want to score for my country,” said Colaco, who has come close but hasn’t scored yet for India. “At the club level, we train for months, but with the national team, we need to train more together and understand each other. That’s how we will improve. Regarding my (goal-scoring) form, it will take time. I think in the next games, I will definitely score.”

It was tough to leave Goa, but I made the right decision: Liston Colaco
‘Scope to expand Durand Cup to 24 or 28 teams next year, have it in multi cities’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football tournament, had 16 teams taking part in 2021 and 20 teams in this year’s edition that kicks off in less than a fortnight.Next year, the tournament could be even bigger, according to the organisers.“Last year there were lot of clubs who we were requesting to take part,” said Lt. Gen. KK Repswal, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command and chairman, Durand Organising Committee. “This year, they have been approaching us, but unfortunately we have not been able to accommodate (them). This year we have 20 teams, which includes all 11 teams from ISL and five from I-League. Clubs like Minerva, CRPF, Assam Rifles, we could not accommodate. Next year there is greater scope that this can be a 24 or 28 team tournament.For the first 52 years since its inception (1888-1939), the tournament was held in Shimla, before being shifted to Delhi in 1940 where it was played for the next 74 years. With former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar taking over as Union defence minister, the Durand Cup was moved to Goa for the first time in 2014, and after a year, the tournament found a new home in Bengal.The Durand Cup organisers have an understanding with the state government in Bengal to host the tournament for five years. But while Assam and Manipur have been added to the new states who will host the Durand Cup this year – though just one group each – more states are likely to be added to the list in 2023.“We have a good scope of having this Cup on the lines of IPL (T20 cricket). This can be IPL of football. Next year, we must plan for a pool in Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur and probably Mizoram as well. (FC Goa president) Akshay (Tandon) was saying why not Goa, so we can have a pool here. We can make it a multi-city tournament like IPL,” Lt. Gen. KK Repswal said during the unveiling of the Durand Cup trophies in the city on Tuesday.The chairman of the Durand Organising Committee said the tournament was moved out of Delhi in 2014 because it did not get adequate response from the fans. Bengal, on the other hand, has been a good experience with 45,000 fans in attendance for last year’s final between FC Goa and Mohammedan Sporting at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan also known as the Salt Lake stadium.Last year’s finalists will now play the opener on August 16.Twenty teams will battle for top honours in this edition of the Durand Cup with Rajasthan United becoming the first team from Rajasthan in 42 years to take part.The trophies are also on display for the first time across the country.“This is the first time that we took a decision that the three trophies (President's Cup, Shimla Cup and the Durand Cup) are moved to different cities where events are held or where football teams are taking part. The idea is that the football fans and other civilians are able to have a look at these historic trophies,” said Lt. Gen. KK Repswal.

‘Scope to expand Durand Cup to 24 or 28 teams next year, have it in multi cities’
Felt a connect with Carlos, he has a clear roadmap for FC Goa’s success: Gouramangi
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: When FC Goa chief coach Carlos Pena showed up on that video call with the club’s director of football, Ravi Puskur, assistant coach candidate Gouramangi Singh didn’t know what to expect. The former AIFF Player-of-the-Year has had a long career as an international. At one time, he was India’s most expensive defender, but his only coaching assignment was at FC Bengaluru United, in the third-tier of Indian football. Pena, though, put him at ease. “He told me, ‘this is not an interview, I just want to understand your thoughts about football and coaching’,” said Gouramangi. Then they started talking. Once they were done and logged out of the video call, the Spanish coach gave his nod to the signing. Club officials too were left in no doubt that they had made the right choice, even though the former India defender was making quite a jump. “I will not be new to this environment. Wherever you go, the dynamics of the dressing room don’t change, and I’ve been part of different dressing rooms with club and country, as player and coach, over the years. “After speaking with Carlos for the last couple of weeks where there has been official sharing of thoughts, I understand completely the coach’s point of views. He is a thorough professional and takes care of the smallest details. I really mean the smallest (detail). He has a clear roadmap on how we have to take this team forward. I am looking forward to the season,” said Gouramangi. The former FCBU assistant coach could also connect with Pena, who retired as player with FC Goa in 2020 and returns as coach two years later. Gouramangi, admittedly, wasn’t the quickest or the strongest defender during his playing days, but stayed ahead of his competitors by understanding the game better. You could say the same about Pena, among the smarter students of the game. “I felt some kind of connect. Both of us come from the same background, so it was easy to understand his language. The clear thought process helped,” he said. Pena has already got the players to work on their physical fitness, ahead of the official pre-season next month. Gouramangi is looking forward to the start. First, of course, so that he can meet everyone in person, and then there is the small matter of reuniting with his “friends and family” in Goa. After all, Gouramangi, now 36, spent a majority of his time as player in Goa. His best years too, with stints at Dempo SC (2004-05), Sporting Clube de Goa (2006-07) and Churchill Brothers (2007-12) where he won all the top trophies which included National Football League, I-League and Federation Cup. “I carry lot of fond memories,” said Gouramangi. “I have friends and family in Goa, who I know for almost 20 years. I got so many messages after the announcement. It was nice to hear from people who helped me establish my career. “Dempo, for example, signed me when I was a nobody. I had my fair share of troubles. It took me about three years to find my feet and establish myself as a player. I must say Goa has given me a lot and I will forever be grateful to the people and clubs in Goa,” he said. The Manipur-based footballer amassed over 70 appearances for the national team and was part of one of the more successful Indian squads in recent times, winning the Nehru Cup twice (2007 and 2009), besides the AFC Challenge Cup and SAFF Cup in 2008. His initiation into coaching also started during his successful days as player. “I have to give credit to Savio Medeira sir for getting me to think about coaching. When he was part of the national team and we were travelling a lot, one evening when we were walking back to the hotel, he asked me. ‘Have you thought about what you would do after you hang your boots? When you go back home, spend time coaching the kids and see if you enjoy that. “I have no idea why he said that. I took it seriously and got my coaching licences while still a player. When Richard (Hood) was taking up a new project at FC Bengaluru United, he asked me to join him and I have good memories from there. We learned and grew as coaches,” said Gouramangi. The Indian Super League is not new to Gouramangi. He spent three seasons in the league, first with Chennaiyin FC and then FC Pune City. His first game was against Goa, a 2-1 win at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda. Now he returns to the top tier, and Goa, this time in a new avatar.

Felt a connect with Carlos, he has a clear roadmap for FC Goa’s success: Gouramangi
Whatever I do on the field, it’s for my club: Edu Bedia
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

Panaji: It was love at first sight for Edu Bedia in India. During his first month here when pre-season was still in progress, the FC Goa midfielder walked up to his friend and teammate Manuel Lanzarote to tell him that he was in love with Goa. The football and style, he said, was good, the place, even better. “I want to play here for ten years,” said Bedia, just 27 when he made the move from Real Zaragoza to FC Goa in 2017. Lanzarote laughed. “He said I’m crazy,” remembers Edu. It was Lanzarote who recommended Edu to the club, having played together in Spain. But while the attacking midfielder with a magical left foot lasted just a year at Goa and two in India – besides a short spell at Chennaiyin FC – Bedia is going strong, now into his sixth season at FC Goa, a record for any foreign player in the Indian Super League (ISL). “I had played seven years in second division in Spain and wanted a change in my career,” Edu told TOI during an online interaction on Wednesday. “I spoke to my wife and we decided to make the shift to India. I had a two-year contract and thought I would come back (home) at the end of it.” Bedia has now signed his third contract, and though, for the first time in his career, it’s just for one season, he knows it’s all in his hands to ensure that he finishes his playing career at the club where he has now spent the maximum years. “I told Ravi (Puskur, director of football) many times (last season). I want to play only in FC Goa. If not, I’ll try to get another offer from a club in Spain. After this, I am going to play only in FC Goa,” said Bedia. The Spanish midfielder is adored by Goa fans. He’s loyal to the club, protects the ball like his life depends on it, fights from start to finish and has the rare ability to wriggle out of tight situations on the field. A team man to the core, he once played despite two fractured ribs. For all the love that Bedia receives in Goa, he is equally disliked by rival fans, even neutrals. He’s the classic pantomime villain who will feign injury, waste time, pull you back and, if needed, even get into a fight. The alleged biting controversy – where he successfully defended himself -- made it worse. “I know, I know,” said Edu, when reminded of the negative image. “I play for my team, my teammates, for FC Goa fans. I don't play for other fans, other teams, other players. Sometimes I don't like (what I am doing), but you have to kill time, create a little fight to finish the game and ensure you have the maximum points. “If, for example, in minute 85, we are up one-nil and have suffered a lot in this moment, my job is to ensure that we keep the score. I know not everyone likes, but these things are important in professional football. You have to do this for your club.” It’s going to be a new innings at Goa this season for Bedia. The former captain continues for the sixth year and will now be coached by his friend and former teammate, Carlos Pena. Having retired just two years ago, some may feel the former Goa defender does not have enough experience of coaching at the top. Bedia, however, has been left in no doubt that his former teammate will measure up to the challenge. “Carlos has been my teammate for three years (in Goa and Spain). I know him as a player, not as coach, but can say he is probably the most professional player I have played with. I have spoken to him (after he became coach) and I know exactly what he wants. He is very, very professional. It’s a huge advantage that he knows the players, knows the league, knows other teams, knows Indian football. “People speak that he does not have experience as coach. He was a player for 15 years in Spain, in the best league, in first and second division. You don’t need more experience than that,” said Bedia. Bedia and Pena have been friends for a long time, but their friendship, he feels, won’t be an impediment to the team’s success on and off the field. “Carlos and me are both very good professionals. We know to change the switch and separate friendship from professionalism. It’s normal in Europe. I always give my 100 percent. But with Carlos as coach, I want to give more than 100 percent. I play for myself, my club, teammates, but I play for Carlos too now. He’s the perfect coach for Goa’s new beginning,” said Bedia.

Whatever I do on the field, it’s for my club: Edu Bedia
Princeton extends stay with FC Goa for two more years
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa are betting big on Princeton Rebello who has now signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2024.Since joining in 2017, everyone at the club has been left in no doubt that the Betalbatim youngster is a special talent.The midfielder caught the eye of Juan Ferrando who joined FC Goa in 2020. The coach even preferred Princeton over the experienced Lenny Rodrigues, and even though the Spaniard left to join ATK Mohun Bagan midway into last season, Princeton’s importance hasn’t been lost on anyone.“Princeton has always been earmarked as someone with the potential to make it big, not just for club but also country,” said director of football Ravi Puskur. “The last two seasons have seen him gain some valuable minutes on the pitch and the intention is to build on that.“We have identified a clear career path for him and it’s imperative now that he makes the step up and makes himself a player that goes into reckoning for the national team. We have high expectations of him and with the coaching staff on board to help his progression, we hope to see him take that leap to the next level.”Princeton, 23, understands the expectations and is keen to make it count.“I am really looking forward to the coming seasons and working towards making an impact in the side. I hope to stay for a long time to come and achieve lots of success with the club,” he said. A member of the first FC Goa development team in 2017, Princeton was one of the key players of the team that won the Goa Pro League in 2018-19. The India U-23 international was also instrumental in helping Goa finish unbeaten in their inaugural challenge in the Durand Cup 2019. He made his debut in the ISL the same year.“This is a huge moment of pride for me and my family. I joined FC Goa five years ago with the goal of getting better each day and eventually playing in the first team one day. That has been my reality for two seasons now but I’m aware that I’ve got lots left to do,” said Princeton.

Princeton extends stay with FC Goa for two more years
From December, one in five matches fixed in Goa Pro League
Times of India | 4 months ago | |
Times of India
4 months ago | |

Panaji: International betting monitoring agencies have red-flagged 12 matches in the Goa Pro League for anomalous betting, including one game that was played on Tuesday. Since December when the first red flag was raised, agencies have been busy tracking suspicious betting patterns with 12 of the 68 games red-flagged and two others classified as Amber II. Red-flagged games are those that have “something genuinely concerning about the betting”, while Amber II are those with enough evidence to suggest that the betting and/or match action was possibly abnormal from an integrity perspective. London-based Sportradar, who has a partnership with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in the field of integrity, specifically addressing match-fixing, has informed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) of three games played in December that threw up alarming results. For all three games played between December 13 and December 29 last year, Sportradar said in its report, “there is clear and overwhelming evidence that the course or result of this match was unduly influenced with a view to gain corrupt betting profits.” These games include Dempo SC vs Calangute Association (4-0), YC Manora vs Dempo (0-4) and Velsao SCC vs Sporting Clube de Goa (0-5). For these games, evidence indicated that bettors held prior knowledge of Calangute, Manora and Velsao all losing the first half and eventually the game. Significantly, Genius Sports, integrity partners of the Goa Football Association (GFA) who organise the league, also red-flagged the three games, besides another clash between FC Goa and Manora which the former won 2-0 on December 30. As exclusively reported by TOI on Thursday, Genius Sports raised the red flag for six games played between March 15 and March 24, 2022. The latest report from the UK-headquartered company examined 21 games this month, two of which were asked to be investigated for possible match-fixing. The games include Vasco’s 0-4 loss against Salgaocar on April 21 and Velsao’s 1-3 loss against Manora on April 26. “The sustained and successful wagering in opposition of Vasco could not be explained due to its timing and volume, as well as the behaviour of the major Asian bookmakers trading the game. “This fixture triggered an alert due to considerable pre-match and live betting support for Salgaocar, firstly to win and then to extend their lead in-play. There was also significant volume of betting support for at least three goals to be scored before kick-off, and then for at least four goals at 0-1. As the match ended 0-4 (in favour of Salgaocar), this wagering was successful and highly concerning from an integrity standpoint,” Genius said in its confidential report. Another match played on Tuesday between Velsao and Manora – both featuring in a significant number of ‘Red’ reported matches – saw “highly-anomalous and concerning betting.” All attempts in match-fixing are towards a team losing with players paid to underperform. GFA president Churchill Alemao said rise in red-flagged matches was highly concerning for Goan football. “Goa is known the world over for its football. It was (former chief minister) Manohar Parrikar who made football the state sport (in 2012), something that no other state has done. I feel the best solution is to ask the police to investigate,” said Alemao. The GFA executive committee is meeting early next week to give the president the green signal to submit the confidential reports and match footage, wherever available, to Goa police. RED-FLAGGED MATCHES Dec 13: Dempo vs Calangute, 4-0 Dec 16: Manora vs Dempo, 0-4 Dec 29: Velsao vs Sporting, 0-5 Dec 30: FC Goa vs Manora, 2-0 March 15: Guardian Angel vs Dempo, 0-4 March 15: Sesa FA vs Velsao 5-1 March 18: YC Manora vs Velsao, 0-3 March 21: Velsao vs Calangute, 1-5 March 21: Manora vs Sporting Clube 0-5 March 24: Manora vs Salgaocar, 1-4 April 21: Vasco vs Salgaocar, 0-4 April 26: Velsao vs Manora, 1-3

From December, one in five matches fixed in Goa Pro League
  • 6 games in 10 days: For third year in a row, Goas football matches fixed
  • Times of India

    Panaji: For the third consecutive year, Goa’s state sport—football—has been rocked by match-fixing allegations. Goa Football Association’s integrity partners, Genius Sports, red-flagged six Goa Pro League matches in ten days last month—between March 15 and March 24—for suspicious betting patterns, indicative of match-fixing. The GFA had kept the league on hold in January due to the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country. But since the league resumed on March 15, bettors have been having a field day with prior information on how the matches would start and finish. “Since the extended break, the increase in the number of integrity reports compiled in this competition (Goa Pro League) was highly concerning,” London-based Genius Sports wrote in a confidential report to GFA. “Seven of the 12 matches (58%) have been subject to an integrity report and six (50%) were graded ‘Red’.” Betting monitors classify a match as ‘Red’ when there are clear integrity issues and something “genuinely concerning” about betting patterns before and during the game. “Many matches in the league have thrown up suspicious results,” said GFA president Churchill Alemao, who owns Churchill Brothers SC, one of India’s more popular football clubs. “My own team has suffered at the hands of this match manipulation. I have taken action (against the players) and our efforts at GFA are to eradicate this menace. We are looking into this.” The six red-flagged games include Guardian Angel SC vs Dempo Sports Club (March 15, 0-4), Sesa FA vs Velsao SCC (March 15, 5-1), YC Manora vs Velsao SCC (March 18, 0-3), Velsao SCC vs Calangute Association (March 21, 1-5), YC Manora vs Sporting Clube de Goa (March 21, 0-5) and YC Manora vs Salgaocar SC (March 24, 1-4). TOI exclusively reported on August 3, 2020, how six matches in the 2019-20 Goa Pro League were red-flagged by Sportradar, another London-based betting monitor, for suspicious betting patterns indicative of match-fixing. Last year, GFA general secretary Jovito Lopes wrote to participating clubs saying that their data and integrity partners “alerted us to several matches, which they have strong indications have been fixed and/or otherwise manipulated for betting purposes.” Genius said the confidence displayed by bettors for some games was seemingly illogical, making it difficult to “apply any reasonable logic to the betting”. Pre-existing concerns regarding some teams only heightened fears of impropriety. London-based monitoring firm operates a sophisticated monitoring system called Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM), which collects betting data and tracks odds movements across the global betting markets. The system raises alerts whenever certain thresholds are breached, unusual activity is noticed in betting patterns during the game or a report is received from a bookmaker of unusual betting activity. Alemao, Goa’s former chief minister, was witness to one such dubious game at the Chowgule ground in Margao when his team raced to a 2-0 lead at the break against Velsao last month. During the interval, however, he was alerted to a change in betting pattern which offered 18/1 odds for an unlikely Velsao win. Velsao won 3-2, scoring three goals in the second half. Another game involving Velsao that raised eyebrows was their 1-5 loss against Calangute Association on March 21, as the betting markets remained “extremely volatile” with certain bookmakers during the opening hour of the match. “We question the timing of the betting. Why did bettors wager with such confidence in four or more goals being scored during the half-time interval? At this stage, no match action is taking place. Therefore, we are unsure what bettors were responding to,” Genius wrote in its individual report of this red-flagged game. Since the league’s restart, the first three fixtures of Manora were graded ‘Red’ and, across the season, five ‘Red’ reports have been compiled that featured wagering in opposition of Manora on each occasion. Genius has also raised concerns over Velsao’s performances in the league. “We strongly recommend for the GFA to investigate YC Manora. The betting patterns in their games imply that there is a real possibility of match manipulation,” Genius said in its confidential report. Manora, though, denied any hand in wrongdoing. “Fingers are being needlessly pointed at Manora,” said club president Srikant Sawant. “Mistakes have happened on the field, but these are human errors. This can happen with any player, any team. Why is nobody pointing to errors from referees, some of which are blatant. Our aim is to survive in the Goa Pro League. It’s not easy to fight your way to the top tier (from the lower divisions) and we will do everything to stay on top.” BEAUTIFUL GAME TURNS UGLY Guardian Angel vs Dempo Score: 0-4 Trigger For Alert: Extremely strong pre-game and early live betting for at least four goals to be scored in the match. Sesa FA vs Velsao SCC Score: 5-1 Trigger For Alert: Extremely strong betting for Sesa FA to win the match by an increasing number of goals (most likely by at least three goals) and for at least four goals to be scored in total. YC Manora vs Velsao SCC Score: 0-3 (HT 0-2) Trigger For Alert: Extremely strong live betting support in favour of Velsao SCC initially to avoid defeat and then to win the match. There was also strong in-play support for at least two goals to be scored during the first-half. Velsao SCC vs Calangute Association Score: 1-5 Trigger For Alert: Strong support in favour of Calangute Association extending their lead at 1-3 and a minimum of five goals being scored YC Manora vs Sporting Clube de Goa Score: 0-5 Trigger For Alert: Very substantial betting support for Sporting Clube to win the match by at least two goals at 0-0 and 0-1, and to be leading by half-time. There was considerable betting support initially for at least three goals to be scored in the entire match at 0-0 and then, at 0-2, for at least three goals to be scored in the first-half. YC Manora vs Salgaocar SC Score: 1-4 Trigger For Alert: Highly unusual betting for four or more goals to be scored in the match, alongside strong support for YC Manora to lose by a minimum margin of three goals.

I know the league, club and players, its an advantage for me: Carlos Pena
Times of India | 5 months ago | |
Times of India
5 months ago | |

Have FC Goa taken a risk by appointing a coach without experience or played it safe by appointing someone who knows the club and the league? We will not know until about four or five months into next season, but given Carlos Pena’s two-year stint at the club between 2018 and 2020, he will know what is expected of him. The newly-appointed Spanish coach, a UEFA Pro licence holder, spoke exclusively to TOI about his return. Excerpts from an interview… Having retired as player with FC Goa only two years ago, did you expect to return so soon? One of the reason I retired was to start a new path as coach. I was very clear that I wanted to become a coach and worked towards it during the later stages of my playing career. I was learning, obtaining my coaching licenses when I was still a player. Nobody can time things. I started coaching young players (in Spain) because you have to make a start somewhere and now my time with FC Goa has come. I am fully prepared. I have learned many things as a professional footballer. Of course, if I arrived here as coach in 10 more years, I would be more experienced, but for sure I am ready now and will do my best. At FC Goa, you will meet many players who were your teammates. How do you convince them that you are now the coach? We have to build a new relationship. We have fought together as teammates and now we will fight again, me in a new role as coach and they in the same role as players. That should not be a problem. Infact, I have an advantage since I know them. I know their potential, what they are capable of, how they react inside the dressing room. My goal is to make the players better. What about the lack of coaching experience? You never have enough experience. When I feel that I know everything, I will retire. My goal is to improve day by day. Of course I don’t have experience of coaching a senior team because I am 38 years old and I have been a professional footballer for 15-20 years. If I returned to Goa as a 60-year-old, maybe things would have changed by then. Maybe at that moment, I wouldn’t know what the ISL is all about. Look at other coaches who come to India. It’s a big challenge for them because they don’t know the league, they don’t know the country. I may not have the experience in some areas, but I have a lot of experience as a footballer. It’s time to work and I will try and change opinions of those who feel I lack the experience of coaching at the senior level. Are you being judged too soon? I know how football works. When I signed for some teams after I was 30, maybe some people thought I was too old to play football. Now I have signed as a coach and maybe some think I am too young. I don’t fight against people’s opinions. I only try to do the best and, hopefully, change opinions. What are your observations about Goa since you left? I think the first season (2020-21) was a good season, qualifying for the semis and being eliminated by Mumbai (City) only on penalties. They were very close to fighting for the title with new coach, new players. After that, Goa did very well in the AFC Champions League. This season, the influence of the coach (Juan Ferrando) leaving was tough. It’s not easy when you are in the bio-bubble and the coach leaves. The new coach has little time to adapt. There were injuries too. But all this is what I observed from the outside. What can fans expect from you as coach at FC Goa? As a player, I enjoyed having the ball, trying to attack, keeping possession, being part of an offensive team. This is how I see and feel football. I like teams that try to recover the ball fast, attack. This is how I’ve enjoyed football and this is the way I will make Goa play. I have no doubt that we will build a strong team, work with the values of FC Goa which I am fully aware. It’s time to look to the future. From among the coaches that you have trained with in the past, who has had the biggest influence? I won’t be fair if I take just one name. There have been great coaches like (Louis) van Gaal, (Frank) Rijkaard, Rubi (now coaching UD Almeira). I have had many coaches and I have learnt many things from all of them.

I know the league, club and players, its an advantage for me: Carlos Pena
FC Goas reserves keen to better seniors
Times of India | 5 months ago | |
Times of India
5 months ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa have endured a difficult season in the Indian Super League (ISL) as the league’s most consistent side failed to make it to the playoffs. Goa’s developmental side is now eager to make up for the disappointment in the inaugural Reliance Foundation Development League which kicks off on Friday in Goa. Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC are the other ISL teams in fray, along with Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC). Apart from winning the league, the top two will be given the chance to participate at the Next Gen Cup to be hosted in the United Kingdom for the first time later this year. That serves as a big motivation. “This tournament is as important as any other tournament which we play. We are ready for the challenge. We have played a couple of matches in the Goa Pro League and It has boosted our confidence,” FC Goa reserves head coach Deggie Cardozo told TOI in an online interaction on Wednesday. Goa start their campaign against Chennaiyin at Nagoa ground on Friday, 8am. Four days later they face Bengaluru at the same venue. Goa are also participating in the state league where they have made it to the Super League stage. Although there is an additional burden of managing fixtures, Cardozo remains optimistic. “We will be facing different opponents whom we haven’t seen play. But me as a coach, I have to train my players in such a way so that they can observe different situations on the pitch and adapt,” said Cardozo. The 34-year-old believes his players will remain true to the club’s philosophy and style of play. Players born on or after January 1, 2001, are eligible to take part in the league but each team can include up to five players born on or after January 1, 1999, in their squads. Goa have included goalkeeper Hrithik Tiwari and midfielder Danstan Fernandes who have already made their debuts with the senior team while Brison Fernandes has also trained with the senior side. “Playing with the senior team or even training with them is a big opportunity for anyone. Every step, every minute, what they (seniors) do, we should follow them and it helps,” said Danstan. FC Goa Fixtures Apr 15: Goa vs Chennaiyin, Nagoa, 8am Apr 19: Goa vs Bengaluru, Nagoa, 8am Apr 24: Goa vs Jamshedpur, Nagoa, 8am Apr 28: Goa vs Hyderabad, Benaulim, 4.30pm May 4: Goa vs Kerala, Benaulim, 4.30pm May 8: Goa vs Mumbai, Nagoa, 8am May 11: Goa vs RFYC, Benaulim, 8am

FC Goas reserves keen to better seniors
FC Goa in a fix as Dev League clashes with Super League at home
Times of India | 5 months ago | |
Times of India
5 months ago | |

Panaji: FC Goa’s participation in the GFA Super League hangs in the balance as the team is also scheduled to take part in the inaugural Development League, which will see participation from six other Indian Super League (ISL) clubs and Reliance Foundation Young Champs. The Development League will be played from April 15 to May 12 in Goa. If the clash of fixtures is unavoidable, FC Goa may have to sacrifice their spot in the Goa Football Association’s Super League, reserved for the top six teams in the state. FC Goa finished in the top six of the Goa Professional League and qualified for the Super League which kicks off on Saturday. Goa are scheduled to play Sporting Clube de Goa on April 11. “The GFA were supposed to announce the fixtures long back, but they have changed it at the last moment. It will be difficult for us to field teams in two places, but we will have to sit down with our technical team and work out what is best,” FC Goa’s director of football Ravi Puskur told TOI on Thursday. Goa have included three players from the ISL side with goalkeeper Hrithik Tiwari, Brison Fernandes and Danstan Fernandes getting the nod. Muhammed Nemil is also eligible, but the midfielder has been given time off after a long season that started with the Durand Cup. Coach Deggie Cardozo will have to balance between the hectic schedule in the two leagues. “We have a big squad and hopefully we can balance it out. In the developmental side we have players who were already promoted from the U-18 team, so we could register some more U-20 players,” said Cardozo. Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC are the other ISL teams who have confirmed their participation for this first of its kind initiative that will provide a unique opportunity for emerging players to compete against the best talent in their age group from across the country. Players born on or after January 1, 2001, are eligible to participate in the league but each team has been granted permission to include up to five players born on or after January 1, 1999, in their squads. Teams that finish in the top two at the end of the league will be given the chance to participate at the Next Gen Cup to be hosted in the United Kingdom for the first time later this year. The Next Gen Cup will be hosted by the Premier League as part of its longstanding partnership with the ISL to support the development of football in India. The top two teams from the RF Development League will be joined by selected PL club youth teams, providing Indian players the chance to experience playing in the UK and competing against academy sides from the most watched football league in the world.

FC Goa in a fix as Dev League clashes with Super League at home
Ortiz set to join hands with Sergio Lobera and City Football Group in China
Times of India | 6 months ago | |
Times of India
6 months ago | |

Panaji: Jorge Ortiz has terminated his contract with FC Goa and is now set to join hands with Sergio Lobera at Chinese League One club Sichuan Jiuniu, owned by the City Football Group. Ortiz has been one of Goa’s most influential players for the last two seasons. The club were keen to extend his contract, but at a time when they appeared to be agreeing terms, the Spanish winger was tempted by a lucrative offer from China. “We had no choice but to let him go,” a club official told TOI. “Ortiz has a huge offer from China which nobody from India can match. He spoke to the club and requested to be released early so that he could join the club during this transfer window itself.” The window in China opened on January 1 but, unlike the winter windows elsewhere, it stayed open through January before shutting on February 28. Having terminated his contract before February 28, Ortiz will be considered a free player and can sign outside the transfer window in China. Sources confirmed that he has not yet signed his two-year contract with Sichuan Jiuniu, now coached by Sergio Lobera who was previously with Goa and Mumbai City FC. The season kicks off in April in China. Ortiz played his last match for FC Goa on February 26 as a second half substitute against Mumbai City FC and then terminated his contract with just one game left in the season. According to sources, his termination has a clause that he cannot do duty for any other Indian club, besides Goa, for the next two years. Ortiz scored eight goals and provided five assists in 15 matches this season. The Spaniard has failed to contribute a goal in only five appearances. He is Goa's top goal-scorer and assist provider this season, and the only one to have five or more goals or assists for the club so far. The Spaniard is trigger-happy and has taken 60 shots, the second most by any player this season. Only Liston Colaco (68) has attempted more, even though Ortiz has played two fewer matches. Only Ferran Corominas (48) and Hugo Boumous (16) have scored more goals than Ortiz (14) for Goa in the Indian Super League. Igor Angulo (14) and Manuel Lanzarote (13) are the other prominent goal-scorers for the club.

Ortiz set to join hands with Sergio Lobera and City Football Group in China
ISL likely to allow fans for final
Times of India | 7 months ago | |
Times of India
7 months ago | |

Panaji: Organisers of the Indian Super League (ISL) are likely to allow fans to attend the final at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on March 20. Fatorda has hosted three finals in the past. While the stadium was packed in 2015 when FC Goa lost against Chennaiyin FC 3-2, final games in 2020 (ATK vs Chennaiyin) and 2021 (Mumbai City vs ATK Mohun Bagan) were both played behind closed doors due to Covid-19. The ISL is being conducted in Goa inside a bio-secure bubble. While restrictions for teams will continue, fans are likely to have the chance to watch the final in person for the first time in three seasons. “A decision has been taken in principle to allow fans, but the state government has to give the go ahead,” a source told TOI on Thursday. “The only worry is that the final clashes with the Shigmo float parade in Margao. A final decision will be taken next week.” Several players, coaching staff, family members and hotel staff inside the ISL bio-bubble tested positive for Covid-19 this season, prompting the league to postpone matches. FC Goa were the first club to report positive cases inside the bubble, while teams like Odisha FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC were also badly hit. Unlike last season when the bubble remained secure, this time around all teams reported cases. The league, though, decided to continue and did not take a break. The decision to allow fans has been taken due to drop in positive cases in Goa. The state reported 45 new coronavirus positive cases, one mortality and a case positivity of 2.8% on Thursday. Schools have also been reopened for the first time since the pandemic in early 2020.

ISL likely to allow fans for final
Quite comfortable with FC Goas style of play: Naveen Kumar
Times of India | 7 months ago | |
Times of India
7 months ago | |

Panaji: Naveen Kumar has spent five years at FC Goa and is keen to extend his stay with the club beyond this season when the contract ends in May. The goalkeeper joined Goa in 2017 after a stint with Churchill Brothers FC where Derrick Pereira was the coach. Along with Brandon Fernandes and Seriton Fernandes, Pereira also asked Naveen to join him at the club where he initially signed as the assistant coach to Sergio Lobera. “I think I will stay with FC Goa. My experiences with Goa have been good. I like the way they play. The staff, club, everything is professional,” Naveen said during the pre-match media interaction on Tuesday. Since making his debut with Goa in 2017, Naveen has largely had a secondary role at the club, except in 2018-19 when he played 13 games for the club, including the final against Bengaluru FC. At Goa, goalkeepers are expected to be comfortable with the ball at their feet. Not everyone can manage that, but despite the occasional hurdle, Naveen says he is better equipped now. “We are professionals, sometimes it’s difficult, but we have to adjust. Whatever is the plan or game style. I am quite comfortable, playing and building from the back. I like this football and this style,” said Naveen. Naveen has played three games this season. He made his debut against Chennaiyin FC last month and kept a clean sheet, the first for Goa, but then tested positive for Covid-19 and had to remain isolated. Juan Ferrando and Derrick Pereira have both handed Dheeraj Singh more starts, but while the competition between the two for the lone spot is healthy, the goalkeepers continue to be good friends off the field. “We are very good friends, like brothers,” said Naveen. “We played together at Kerala Blasters as well. We have to do our best whenever coach hands us a chance. We motivate each other.”

Quite comfortable with FC Goas style of play: Naveen Kumar
ISL: Goa not losing hope amid winless streak
Times of India | 7 months ago | |
Times of India
7 months ago | |

FC Goa are not losing hope despite having their backs to the wall in the race for a top-four spot in the Indian Super League. Although Goa have not won the title after two final appearances, they remain the most consistent side, having failed to make it to the semi-finals just once, in 2016, when they finished at the bottom of the pool. Goa have won only one of their last nine matches and lost two of the last three. They are now ninth on the points table, but head coach Derrick Pereira believes his team can give their best in the last six games of the league stage. After disappointing results and refereeing decisions that did not go their way, Goa will look to salvage their campaign against Odisha FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, on Tuesday. In the last game against Jamshedpur FC, Goa looked rejuvenated until Daniel Chukwu scored from what looked like an off-side position. Moreover, goalkeeper Naveen Kumar should have done better with his block. If that was not enough, luck was never on Goa’s side as they hit the crossbar three times during the game. “We have been losing focus and I think if we cut off individual mistakes at the back and in the front, we will get a result in the next match,” Pereira said during an online media interaction on Monday. Goa have 14 points from as many games. Odisha are also eager to get back to winning ways and have a real chance of making it to the playoffs. They find themselves just above Goa with 17 points after 13 matches. Goa’s influential midfielder Jorge Ortiz had to sit out of the last game after a muscle strain during pre-match warm-up. The Spaniard should be back, along with midfielder Glan Martins. Pereira is happy with the return of Brandon Fernandes who missed out on 12 games due to injury. The India midfielder is growing in confidence and has a vital role to play. “As always, our intent is to go and get those three points in each and every match. From now on, it will be the same. We will keep fighting during each and every match and never give up. Will go there and try to do our best, but there are some decisions beyond our control and hopefully all goes well,” said Pereira. The outbreak of Covid-19 cases inside the bio-secure bubble has been challenging for teams, physically as well as mentally. Players have been forced to stay inside their rooms with restricted training sessions. Odisha have faced similar troubles and coach Kino Garcia is aware of the opposition threat. “I think it’s going to be a tough game. Goa is not in a good position on the table, but they don’t deserve that depending on how they are playing,” said Odisha coach Kino Garcia.

ISL: Goa not losing hope amid winless streak
  • ISL: For under-pressure Goa, win is all that matters
  • Times of India

    FC Goa’s record has been poor this season, whether it’s Juan Ferrando or Derrick Pereira at the helm of affairs. The former League champions are winless in their last three matches against lowly-ranked opponents and have just one win in their last eight games. For a team who have qualified for the semi-finals in the last four editions, that should be a cause for concern and coach Pereira admitted as much, ahead of an important clash against Jamshedpur FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Friday. “It’s tough now (to qualify) but we will take it match by match,” Pereira told TOI during an online media interaction on Thursday. “We are a team that should not be in the position that we are right now, for whatever reasons. There are lot of reasons behind it. The players give their best, they keep working hard.” Goa are ninth on the table with 14 points from 13 matches. What’s more concerning is the negative goal difference, a clear reflection that the team hasn’t scored enough this season. While most of the blame will be placed at the feet of the foreign attackers who are expected to do the bulk of the scoring, no Indian player has scored for Goa since Devendra Murgaonkar found the back of the net against Bengaluru FC more than a month ago. The domestic players have scored just two goals – Alexander Romario being the other -- and provided two assists. The return of Brandon Fernandes can change that. The midfielder took the field towards the fag end of the match against Bengaluru and is now ready for a larger, more influential role. His presence can create more opportunities in front of goal, though Goa’s problems cannot be wished away so easily. “The conditions are tough here. The results are not going our way and there’s lot of mental pressure on the players. That’s why we tend to lose focus during the game at times,” said Pereira, whose side will have to be alert, having lost to Jamshedpur 1-3 in the first leg. Jamshedpur are third on the points table with 19 points from 11 games and a win will take them closer to pole position. It’s a clear reflection of what Owen Coyle’s side has done this season, both in attack where Greg Stewart has been outstanding with five man-of-the-match awards, and in defence, where the back-four have been consistent. “I don't have any doubts that it is going to be a difficult match for us for a number of reasons - lack of training and being in quarantine for such a long period, which is a big challenge, both physically and mentally for the lads,” said Coyle. Jamshedpur were hit by Covid-19 that saw two of their games postponed and the team locked indoors for a long time. They last played on January 11 and Coyle will hope the momentum, thanks to last-gasp winners from Ishan Pandita against SC East Bengal and NorthEast United, isn’t lost. “There are players who are available for the match but there are a few who won’t make it. We have to make sure we are ready and aim to continue our winning run that we had going prior to the break,” said Coyle.

  • ISL: FC Goa hopeful of a turnaround
  • Times of India

    Miracles do happen, said FC Goa coach Derrick Pereira. Goa and Pereira both need one to break into the Indian Super League (ISL) play-offs this season. Goa struggled from the start, losing three games in a row, and nothing seems to have changed after 12 matches in which they managed only three wins. They now find themselves in the ninth position on table with eight games remaining in the league stage. In the last two games, Goa failed to get the better of NorthEast United FC and SC East Bengal, the only two teams which are below them at the moment. Their remaining fixtures are as difficult as they can get, starting with Bengaluru FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, on Sunday. “We are going to go with a different mindset with our approach in the remaining matches,” FC Goa head coach Derrick Pereira told TOI during the media interaction on Saturday. “We will try to perform in each and every match to the best of our abilities.” Against the eight teams Goa are drawn to face in the remaining games, the Durand Cup champions managed only nine points in the first leg. Goa have 13 points and a four-point gap separates them from fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. However, the recent rise in Covid-19 cases inside the bio-bubble has made things difficult for them. “We will play as a team and give more than 100 percent to get the maximum in each and every match,” said Pereira. Goa’s main concern has been in defence while the finishing has been below par as well. Goa have attempted the most shots (184) but have the lowest goal conversion rate out of all teams (7.6%). Pereira has been forced to shuffle his midfield due to injuries or non-availability of players. Their biggest miss has been star midfielder Brandon Fernandes who is yet to feature after suffering injury at the SAFF Cup in Maldives. The international has trained and Pereira will hope he is cleared by the medical team to play against Bengaluru. Bengaluru have been unbeaten in five games after suffering a 1-2 defeat against Goa. It was a game where Goa’s Jorge Ortiz and Bengaluru’s Suresh Singh Wangjam picked up red cards. Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side come into the fixture with a morale boosting 3-0 win against defending champions Mumbai. They are just a spot above Goa with the same points but have a game in hand. Full-back Roshan Singh has been in fine form, providing five assists. Three of the 22-year-olds assists came for Prince Ibara. The Congolese striker has been robust and poses an aerial threat for Goa’s back-four. Bengaluru have been in quarantine for 10 days after Covid-19 cases in the side and had two training sessions. “Goa were dominating possession against East Bengal in the last game and were a bit unlucky in finishing. But still for me Goa is the best team with ball possession in this league. We need to be prepared,” Bengaluru coach Pezzaiuoli.

8 of 11 clubs locked in rooms as Covid breaches ISL bio-bubble
Times of India | 8 months ago | |
Times of India
8 months ago | |

Panaji: It took FC Goa captain Edu Bedia and Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic to tell everyone just what most inside the Indian Super League’s ‘bio-secure bubble’ are thinking at the moment. Since a non-technical staffer at FC Goa tested positive for Covid-19 on January 3, the league has seen an alarming rise in cases. Sources said approximately 60 cases are reported inside the bubbles, with those testing positive sent into isolation for 10 days, along with their roommates and close contacts. FC Goa alone have a dozen-odd cases, which includes players and support staff. Four players have now recovered. The rise in cases, which includes hotel staff, has seen eight of the 11 teams locked inside their rooms till Sunday due to an outbreak in their respective camps. Four matches, including three in the last three days, have also been postponed, since teams did not have the requisite number of players to field a team. “Nobody is talking about football, nobody is talking about football games because everyone is concerned,” said Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic, probably speaking for most inside the bubbles. Bedia, the Goa captain, missed his team’s 1-1 draw against NorthEast United last week after testing positive for Covid-19, just a few hours before the team set out for the venue. He was among the nine players who did not make the trip and took to social media to voice his feelings. “Players are losing interest and the desire to continue to compete,” the Goa captain said in a post, shared by many players. “They continue to play to collect their contracts without any ambition. This is what has been achieved with this year's rules. Whether you like it or not, all the people inside the bio-bubble just want March to come and the league to end, whatever the outcome.” Goa missed all four captains and the Spanish midfielder seemed particularly irked that while Goa were denied a postponement, two ATK Mohun Bagan games — where Juan Ferrando, formerly with the Gaurs, is the coach — were deferred. “It’s not easy, especially when you are closed in your rooms,” said Kerala Blasters defender Enes Sipovic. “You think only how not to test positive (for Covid-19), particularly when your wife, kids and, in my case, I need to take extra care of my wife because we are expecting a baby.” Wives and girlfriends of players are among those who have tested positive. The two-year old daughter of a foreign player is also among the positive cases, sparking fears across the hotels where teams are based. “No one can understand how hard it is in a bubble without being inside,” said Chennaiyin’s Polish striker Lukasz Gikiewicz. “We don’t feel normal life... we have to bring it together to finish the season to the end.” In a meeting on Sunday, some clubs pushed for the league to take a break and reconvene after the rise in cases has been arrested. The organisers, though, remained non-committal, telling the gathering CEOs they will get back with new SOPs that will allow them to train, rather than get locked inside their rooms. Till Sunday when the meeting happened, seven clubs — ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters, East Bengal, NorthEast, Jamshedpur, Odisha and Bengaluru — were barred from training. Goa were also locked but allowed to step out only for training. On Monday, they were joined by Odisha and East Bengal. “At this point of time, there are no plans (to pause). Every match is being evaluated on a case-to-case basis, but we expect things to get sorted out in the next three days,” a source said when asked if there was a possibility of the league taking a break.

8 of 11 clubs locked in rooms as Covid breaches ISL bio-bubble
  • ISL: Five teams locked inside rooms as Covid-19 strikes
  • Times of India

    Panaji: ATK Mohun Bagan have been locked inside their rooms for the last six days and have not had a single training session ahead of their clash against Bengaluru FC on Saturday. ATKMB’s clash against Odisha FC was postponed last week after an unnamed player tested positive for Covid-19 on the morning of the match and the entire team was immediately sent into hard isolation. At last count, five players had tested positive and they have not been able to step out of isolation. Bengaluru are not having the best of preparations either. After the discovery of a hotel staff being Covid-19 positive inside their bio-secure bubble, they have been in isolation for the last two days. A player has now tested positive through a rapid antigen test (RAT) and the camp is anxiously waiting for the more accurate RT-PCR test results. Odisha took the field for their clash against Kerala Blasters on Wednesday, despite having four cases inside the bubble. While one of their players tested positive on Tuesday, three other members were added to the list before they set out for the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, where they were asked not to use the dressing room as a precautionary measure. On Thursday, two other non-coaching staff tested positive. “The players have shown outstanding fortitude,” Abhik Chatterjee, head of football operations at Odisha, said in a tweet on Thursday. “We are following all isolation guidelines from the league and are taking advised actions, prescribed by medical authorities. The next few days can get worse, hence, my request to the fans is to show your team some love at this moment when they need it most.” SC East Bengal are also isolating after their hotel staff inside the bio-secure bubble tested positive. FC Goa are now inside their rooms for the last 12 days. They are allowed outside only for training, that too at the nearby Sesa FA ground in Sirsaim with a maximum of eight players travelling in the team bus. “There are some incredible personal sacrifices being made by people who are inside which may never be told or heard, but each one of them deserves huge respect for how much they’re giving up to be here and coming out to perform in their respective jobs,” Goa’s director of football, Ravi Puskur, said in a tweet. Goa president Akshay Tandon also took to Twitter on Thursday to explain just how difficult life has been for the club for the last 12 days. “Bio-bubbles with +ive Covid cases are much much harder. Some @FCGoaOfficial staff and players are in isolation for over 12 days now and it takes its toll on everyone. There are huge personal sacrifices being made by coaches, staff, players and support staff. “Please reach out to everyone inside the bubble and show them your appreciation. Send them your love and let them know we are grateful for their contribution during these difficult times. They need it! The last few weeks have been tough and the next few weeks are likely going to be tougher,” said Tandon. The increases in cases inside the bubble has coincided with Goa reporting 3,728 fresh infections on Thursday, the biggest and fastest single-day increase in cases since the third wave started late last month. The case positivity rate shot up to 39.41%. The organisers, though, have made it clear to clubs that they are not in favour of postponements. In an email to clubs last week, ISL CEO Martin Bain said, if 15 players are not available for a match, the league will “try and reschedule” the match at a later date. If the rescheduling is not possible, a win with 3-0 margin will be awarded to the other team. If both teams have players unavailable, it will be considered a goalless draw.

Odisha player tests positive for Covid-19 inside bio-secure bubble
Times of India | 8 months ago | |
Times of India
8 months ago | |

Panaji: Odisha FC are waiting anxiously for test reports of the entire team after one of their players tested positive for Covid-19 from a RTPCR test. According to sources, the player had cold and cough on Monday and was immediately isolated. A RTPCR test was later done and results confirmed fears of a positive case inside the Indian Super League (ISL) club’s bio-secure bubble. All others inside the Odisha bubble who had a rapid antigen test have tested negative. Odisha are now the third club to have a Covid-19 positive case inside the bubble, following cases at ATK Mohun Bagan and FC Goa. Odisha are scheduled to play Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Wednesday. Much of their fortunes will depend on the RTPCR tests done today and rapid antigen test (RAT) to be done prior to departure for the stadium. “Everyone’s on the edge at the moment,” a source who has tracked the development told TOI. “When ATK Mohun Bagan had a positive case inside the bubble, the whole team was sent into hard quarantine for four days. FC Goa were also not allowed to train for four days after some of their players were first suspected to have tested positive. We have to wait and see what happens with Odisha.” Interestingly, Odisha’s previous clash against ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday was postponed after a player tested positive in the Kolkata camp and the entire team was sent into hard quarantine. Since then, ISL CEO Martin Bain has written to the clubs that it may not always be possible to reschedule matches. If 15 players are not available for a match, Bain said, the league will “try and reschedule” the match at a later date. If the rescheduling is not possible, a win with 3-0 margin will be awarded to the other team. If both teams have players unavailable, it will be considered a goalless draw. The rise in the number of positive cases is a cause for concern for all participating teams. "What we are most concerned about now is the Covid situation,” Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic said on Tuesday. “What we've seen so far, and in my opinion, it will burst out in different camps, it could be a challenge. Now we see in some team there are more cases, putting them in hard quarantine.” The League has taken additional precautions with testing every 12 hours and made it mandatory for everyone to wear N95 masks, even when they are on the substitute’s bench. New players and support staff who are joining teams are now quarantined at the league hotel – for better monitoring -- rather than the team hotel. The league has also restricted the number of club officials, outside the bio-bubble, who can attend their team’s matches at the stadium.

Odisha player tests positive for Covid-19 inside bio-secure bubble