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Goan football: The way ahead

Goa is known the world over as the land of Sun and Sea. Goa is also famous for its fish curry rice, Caju feni (Goan liquor of cashew juice), music and football. Goa has produced musicians and footballers of great repute. Chris Perry, Remo Fernandes(musicians) and Fortunato Franco, Brahmanand Shankwalkar, Bruno Coutinho(footballers) are some of the big names in their respective fields. Goa being very small in territory, the influx of migrants into Goa has become a threat and could end up changing the very face of Goan culture. If necessary steps are not taken in time, very soon Goans may find themselves in a minority in their own land. To make things worse, many Goans have preferred to migrate abroad for better prospects.In the game of football, Goans consider themselves second to none in India. This is because three football clubs viz Dempo SC, Salgacar FC and Churchill Bros had kept the prestigious football I League title among themselves for six consecutive years from 2007 to 2013. This year Bengaluru FC ended the reign of Goan supremacy and with that it?s time for Goa to introspect about its claim of ?numero uno? in Indian football. It may not be Goa or Bengal anymore as the performance of new clubs like Bengaluru FC, Shlliong Lajong and Rangdajeed FC, Pune FC in the I League have thrown the competition wide open. Nagaland winning the Santosh Trophy recently makes one wonder whether North-East is going to be the new hub of Indian football.In Goa, the Dempos, Salgacars, Sesa Goa and individuals like Churchill Alemao and Sporting Clube de Goa?s Peter Vaz have contributed immensely to the game of football, till now. All of them have contributed their might to the game just for the love of it. But the moot question to be asked now is this: for how long? Accept Sesa Goa, none of the four I league clubs have their own residential academies. Goa Football Association and Goa Football Development Council have introduced several centres for grassroots development which is good but not enough. All the players coming out of the regional centres must find themselves in residential academies preferably owned by the I league professional clubs. This will give the hopefuls some sense of security and a dream to be a professional footballer. Those aspiring to be engineers will enroll themselves in Engineering Colleges. So also those eying to be professional footballers must join ?Residential Football Academies?.It is important that Goans footballers form the core of a club, if they expect the crowds to support them. Unfortunately the presence of the Pereiras,D?Souzas,Fernandes,Naiks,Lotlikars etc have diminished year by year in the Goan I League Clubs. Except in Sporting Clube de Goa, Goans were a minority in all the three Goan Clubs in the I League. Sporting Clube de Goa had the best figures of 66% Goans(20/30 players), followed by Dempo SC: . 41%(17/41 players),Churchill Bros: 37%(13/35 players)and Salgaocar FC: 36%(16/44 players). In order to change this equation, it?s important that the clubs undertake community service by way of training at the grassroots and open up residential football academies to give opportunities for the locals. The Goa(India) team that played in the Lusofonia Games 2013 in Goa with a squad of all Goan players, is a fine indication as to what draws the crowds to the stadiums. The stadiums were jam packed for all the football matches played in ?Lusofonia Games?. Clubs could be economically more viable when they produce more players locally and recruit less number of players from outside. At all levels a system or rules must be framed to compensate clubs whenever a player is transferred from one club to the other. This could be food for thought not only for Goan clubs but for all football clubs in India.

Football in Goa

Football in Goa

Goa is known the world over as the land of Sun and Sea. Goa is also famous for its fish curry rice, Caju feni (Goan liquor of cashew juice), music and football. Goa has produced musicians and footballers of great repute. Chris Perry, Remo Fernandes(musicians) and Fortunato Franco, Brahmanand Shankwalkar, Bruno Coutinho(footballers) are some of the big names in their respective fields. Goa being very small in territory, the influx of migrants into Goa has become a threat and could end up changing the very face of Goan culture. If necessary steps are not taken in time, very soon Goans may find themselves in a minority in their own land. To make things worse, many Goans have preferred to migrate abroad for better prospects.

In the game of football, Goans consider themselves second to none in India. This is because three football clubs viz Dempo SC, Salgacar FC and Churchill Bros had kept the prestigious football I League title among themselves for six consecutive years from 2007 to 2013. This year Bengaluru FC ended the reign of Goan supremacy and with that it’s time for Goa to introspect about its claim of ‘numero uno’ in Indian football. It may not be Goa or Bengal anymore as the performance of new clubs like Bengaluru FC, Shlliong Lajong and Rangdajeed FC, Pune FC in the I League have thrown the competition wide open. Nagaland winning the Santosh Trophy recently makes one wonder whether North-East is going to be the new hub of Indian football.

In Goa, the Dempos, Salgacars, Sesa Goa and individuals like Churchill Alemao and Sporting Clube de Goa’s Peter Vaz have contributed immensely to the game of football, till now. All of them have contributed their might to the game just for the love of it. But the moot question to be asked now is this: for how long? Accept Sesa Goa, none of the four I league clubs have their own residential academies. Goa Football Association and Goa Football Development Council have introduced several centres for grassroots development which is good but not enough. All the players coming out of the regional centres must find themselves in residential academies preferably owned by the I league professional clubs. This will give the hopefuls some sense of security and a dream to be a professional footballer. Those aspiring to be engineers will enroll themselves in Engineering Colleges. So also those eying to be professional footballers must join ‘Residential Football Academies’.

It is important that Goans footballers form the core of a club, if they expect the crowds to support them. Unfortunately the presence of the Pereiras,D’Souzas,Fernandes,Naiks,Lotlikars etc have diminished year by year in the Goan I League Clubs. Except in Sporting Clube de Goa, Goans were a minority in all the three Goan Clubs in the I League. Sporting Clube de Goa had the best figures of 66% Goans(20/30 players), followed by Dempo SC: . 41%(17/41 players),Churchill Bros: 37%(13/35 players)and Salgaocar FC: 36%(16/44 players). In order to change this equation, it’s important that the clubs undertake community service by way of training at the grassroots and open up residential football academies to give opportunities for the locals. The Goa(India) team that played in the Lusofonia Games 2013 in Goa with a squad of all Goan players, is a fine indication as to what draws the crowds to the stadiums. The stadiums were jam packed for all the football matches played in ‘Lusofonia Games’.

Clubs could be economically more viable when they produce more players locally and recruit less number of players from outside. At all levels a system or rules must be framed to compensate clubs whenever a player is transferred from one club to the other. This could be food for thought not only for Goan clubs but for all football clubs in India.

Published with permission from Lector Mascarenhas.

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