It all began in the Indian Super League with teams filing tender to own city based franchises which saw the consortium of Shrinivas Dempo, Duttaraj Salgaocar and Videocon Chariman Venugopal Dhoot bag the rights of the Goa franchise – later came into being as FC Goa. We also saw Virat Kohli joining in as a co-owner and Varun Dhawan as the brand ambassador.
The Dempo SC advantage
While the franchises got busy in setting up the backroom staff to run the show and recruit players in the domestic draft, the Goa franchise owners had the liberty of having the Dempo SC players on board and the slightest they had to do was decide on the members from the squad to be a part of their franchise.
As it panned out, 14 players from the Dempo SC outfit alongside a Mohun Bagan loanee in Biswajit Singh comprise the 15-player FC Goa domestic contingent. FC Goa picked a very balanced squad keeping in mind the foreigners they had to slot in and though, football isn’t played on paper, they seem to be amongst the strongest and most balanced squads.
A very distinct advantage the team from Goa enjoys the fact that all the domestic players barring come from Dempo SC and have been training together for a while now. They have also played together for a considerable amount of time in the 2013-14 edition of the I-League, helping them build that kind of understanding of each other and the respective styles, enabling them to leverage the “Dempo SC” advantage.
A Unique playing style
FC Goa has so far played a couple of games in the competition, losing one and drawing another, but what has been impressive is their playing style. The Brazilian legend and FC Goa coach Zico testifies the statement, quoting: “I am very satisfied with how the team performed today. According to me the team played really well. They created many opportunities to score. We had very good control over the game. They ran really very fast and well. They fought a good fight,” after the loss in the opening game against Chennaiyin FC.
Even after the draw against the North Easterners, Zico was positive about his side and seemed content with how they played, his only disappointment being the lack of points on the board.
Football as we all know is a team game and a lot about coordination. Not only here in India, but worldwide, it is a notion that a new player coming in takes time to settle down to adapt to the team’s style, understanding his team’s play and the players. For instance, a player would only after a while know what and how his fellows make runs inside the box, how they drop down, when they play the ball and when do they anticipate it.
FC Goa has that liberty with the players having a better gel than the other given they have been together for long.
Another positive for Goa is the fact that the players had been tuned to play short passing, attractive game under Papas and this is exactly what Zico is preaching to the outfit. Brazil is known for their flair and Zico intends to build that up with FC Goa. And ofcourse, it is much easier for the team has been undergoing a similar style and all together.
Although FC Goa do not have the kind of points to show on the table, their play certainly gives the fans and the management heart and they are certainly one team that are set to get better as the tournament progresses and reap the benefits of playing together and a similar, attractive style. There is a huge set of talent waiting on the wings for their chance to ply trade with such quality players and prove their mettle. Hungry, talented and eager set of young Indian contingent is another positive for the Goa outfit.
The foreign imports
The set of foreign names in the squad is also a reason to cheer. While Pires adds the solidity and the star factor in the team, the likes of Edgar and Bruno can consolidate play int he midfield with their skill and stamina. Andre Santos too brings in quality and versatility to the outfit.
The likes of Gregory Arolin and Youness have been strong at the heart of defence. And although striking department has been of a little worry, the likes of Ranti Martins, Herlein, Slepicka gives assurance that it is only going to look better.
What has cost FC Goa is the individual errors and that is something you get when there are youngsters in the side. The likes of Prabir Das and Narayan Das made a few errors in the first game, while the team looked much more compact and solid in the second game with the introduction of experience through Clifford Miranda and Debrata Roy.
With the experience of such stage, a little settling, the team is set to go near distance and create an impact in the inaugural edition of the ISL. Watch out as FC Goa goes on a trail!!Published 21 Oct 2014, 22:03 IST