Sporting Clube de Goa’s Victorino Fernandes was one of most consistent Indian players of the 2013-14 season as he played a key role in the Goan club’s best-ever I-League campaign since 2009 and was joint-top scorer in the Federation Cup, where the Flaming Oranje finished runners-up.
Victorino also made his international debut for India this season when he came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Nepal back in November in Siliguri. His good performances at club level also earned him a place in the shortlist of five senior players for India’s Asian Games squad.
It won’t be easy for the 25-year-old to make it to the final list of three as he faces competition from Sunil Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Robin Singh and Francis Fernandes. But for a player, who only made his I-League debut three years ago, just being in contention for the Asian Games squad is a privilege and he expressed his delight during an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
“It’s an honour to be among the five. I had a great season and I believe it was my best till date because I made my debut for the India senior team and was also nominated for the FPAI Fans’ Player of the Year Award. It’s a dream of any player to play for your country so it was an amazing feeling to be a part of the seniors and I am looking forward to the next opportunity,” he told Sportskeeda.
Victorino, who also made a substitute appearance in the international friendly against Bangladesh in March, is very humble and prefers to do the talking on the pitch and that approach has seen develop into one of India’s most gifted footballers. Oscar Bruzon has had a big influence on his career ever since taking charge of Sporting Clube in December 2012 and the player wants to keep improving under the Spanish coach.
“We had a good season and nearly won the Federation Cup. I think we lost out of because of fatigue. But overall I improved as a player. I have learnt a lot under him (Bruzon) and I still have plenty of room for improvement. He is a good coach and helps me out a lot,” said Victorino.
The former Salgaocar youth player is very versatile as he can operate on both flanks and upfront. He is often referred to as the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo of Goa’ for his pace and dribbling skills and although the player enjoys that nickname, he prefers playing as a striker.
“I like to play as striker because I can be more decisive there,” said the soft-spoken attacker.
With most I-League clubs playing foreigners upfront, it is never easy for Indian forwards to be a regular in the team but Victorino has been given a platform by Sporting Clube to flourish and thus he wants to repay the faith by remaining with the club despite having lucrative offers from elsewhere.
Victorino has already lived the dream by becoming an India international and with plenty of time in his career, the Goan lad has the potential to reach great heights.Published 15 May 2014, 19:58 IST