ISL: Romeo Fernandes looks to continue the romance
Romeo Fernandes is the kind of player who was born and brought up in a footballing culture. Born in the small village of Assolna in Goa, Fernandes started his youth career as a winger for his beloved Dempo making his professional debut as a 20-year-old in the I-League and soon established himself as a first-team starter for them. Since then he has made his debut for India U-23 side capping off his first match with a goal against the UAE.
Playing for FC Goa in the Hero Indian Super League, the team didn’t have the best of starts, getting their first win under the stewardship of the Brazilian legend Zico in only their fifth game of the campaign. Post their stuttering start, Zico has brought about the changes to see his team in second place in the standings and what’s more, the team has lost just once in the last seven matches, winning four of those.
“I am happy with my players’ behaviour. They gave their best in practice and this is the fruit of that. I am happy with the reaction and support from the fans who love football. Goa is well represented here. I would like to congratulate the fans for the victory,” said Zico after his side’s latest victory over NorthEast United FC. Fernandes scored the 100th goal of the inaugural ISL and was quick to give credit to his manager for the upturn in both the team’s and his personal fortunes.
With just two matches left for the coastal side, both away to the in-form teams of the league, Chennaiyin FC and Atlético de Kolkata, Fernandes knows how they will need to perform. “They are both away games and we have to fight like we play at home,” Zico said to encourage his team to qualify for the knockouts.
“I hope this won’t be the last game we play here for this season. I hope we have at least one more chance. It has been amazing. We love this ground and the crowds who come in to support us. They add the extra man to our squad. We are looking to honour the fans by giving it our all. We just want to give this gift to them. I’ve told my players what this crowd means and that we should do this for them,” he added.
Having replaced Gabriel Fernandes on the right wing, Romeo has seen a change in his fortunes, registering two goals and two assists including the wonderful run across the turf for that momentous goal. His name may be written in the record books but he knows he and his teammates have a big task still at hand if they have to aim for the ISL title.