ISL: FC Goa - Team Preview
FC Goa are looking to improve on their semi-final appearance in the second edition
FC Goa hails from the holiday destination state of Goa on the west coast of India where Football, Fish and Feni reign supreme. A state that has always supported the beautiful game and infact, made football the official sport of the state a few years back. FC Goa is one of the ISL teams that have a fanatic fan following who follow their team religiously whether they win or lose as evident in last year's ISL.
The franchise has made some shrewd signings this year under the guidance of head coach Zico, who has himself selected all the players unlike last year when Zico was handed a team in which he had no say in the selection. The first major signing that was made this year was that of Brazilian world cup winner Lucio. The 37-year-old was Zico’s prime target and he satisfied the criteria of being the teams Marquee player.
FC Goa may not be considered by many as the strongest team in the ISL, but they surely cannot be taken lightly considering that they have some really good players which include the likes of Lucio, Leo Moura and Reinaldo amongst others.
The notable names among the foreigners include Lucio, who has been a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002. He has also been part of the Brazilian team that won the 2005 and 2009 Confederation Cup. He was also an integral part of the team that won the treble with Inter Milan in 2010.
He has represented some clubs throughout his career which includes German giants Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich and Italian giants Inter Milan. The other notable signing in the team is Leo Moura, who has the unique distinction of representing the big 4 clubs from Rio de Janeiro, namely Vasco, Botafogo, Fluminense and Flamengo.
Among the Indian contingent, FC Goa has retained a number of their influential players from last season which include the likes of Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Narayan Das, Bikramjit Singh and a few others. These 4 players are expected to play a major role in the season and are expected to start for the Goan club in most of the matches.
The other notable name among the Indian players include Pronay Halder who along with Romeo Fernandes and Narayan Das have recently represented India in the World Cup Qualifiers against Iran.
Likely XI - Elinton Andrade , Lucio, Gregory Arnolin, Narayan Das, Debabrata Roy, Bikramjit Singh, Leo Moura, Jofre, Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Reinaldo
Zico is into his second season with FC Goa and the coach himself has said that the team will be better this season.
“We want to get better. Last year I did not know the players, the foreigners and the technical staff. In the beginning, it was difficult. This year we will be better because I got to choose the Indian players and the foreigners also.”
A semi-final appearance in your maiden campaign is not a bad return. Especially when you consider that the Goan outfit were languishing in the bottom half of the table for the early part of last season.
This is Zico’s squad and the Brazilian tactician would look to get the best out of his team. From the looks of it, the 62-year-old will continue with his attacking style of football coupled with solid defending.
How far will they go?
As always, FC Goa is expected to go a long way in the tournament even though they may not have the best foreigners. The Indian contingent in the team is quite good and are expected to perform well. The team will surely be one of the contenders for the semifinal spot.
There is no doubt that FC Goa has one of the most passionate fans in the league. The response last year from the fans was amazing even though the team was struggling at the start of the season. The fans kept their faith in the team and were rewarded with their huge banner in support of the team. This year too, the demand for tickets has been so huge that the first match between FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos has already been sold out even though the ticket prices have doubled from last year.