FC Goa will look to redeem themselves in this year's edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). The side reached the semi-final in the inaugural season and all the way to the final in 2015 but unfortunately lost out to Chennayin FC in front of a home crowd that left the team with disappointment and controversies galore.
This season, FC Goa's head coach Zico has been replaced by Spaniard Sergio Lobera who has coached numerous Spanish clubs, including over a decade with FC Barcelona's youth teams.
Will the 2017-18 season mark the beginning of a new era in FC Goa's history? We look at what could be the team's starting XI as they begin their hunt for their first ISL title!
Predicted Formation: 4-3-3
Sergio Lobera has for long, with many of his past teams, usually gone for the 4-3-3 defensive-minded style formation. However, with ample attacking options with a good mix of experienced and young forwards and attacking midfielders, Lobera could very well take an attacking approach with his new FC Goa team.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani
Goa's brick wall in goal will be back for his fourth consecutive season with the club and will continue to be regarded as a local hero for his show in goal. The goalkeeper has established himself as a regular starter over the years with a good record of clean sheets.
Right Back: Amey Ranawade
With no recognized right back in the squad, DSK's Amey Ranawade looks certain to get the nod as he did serve as second choice RB in his previous stint with DSK Shivaijans. The player loves going up the flanks and putting in a couple of great crosses every game, which makes the young fullback definitely one to watch out for.
Center Back: Bruno Pinheiro
A CDM by nature, Bruno should easily take on the CB responsibility as he was naturally a defensive minded midfielder and has played center back for FC Goa and other clubs before. The defender will return for his third season with the club. The Portuguese is a big fan favorite and will look to build on that. Bruno will likely get the nod ahead of Sergio Juste due to his experience of playing for FC Goa and in Indian conditions before.
Center Back: Chinglensana Singh
The defender from Manipur looks likely to get the nod due to the rule of having just five foreign players in the starting XI and head coach Sergio Lobera will probably bank on the experience of his Indian defenders. Singh, at the age of 20 has already had plenty of experience playing in India and camps that took place in England. He has also played in the ISL for the Delhi Dynamos.
Left Back: Narayan Das
Left back Narayan Das will return to Goa after spending a rather disappointing season with ISL team FC Pune. The player established himself as one of the best fullbacks and young players in the league in the first two seasons of the ISL and will return to FC Goa with the pressure to deliver, based on his excellent performances in the past.