With the seventh season of Indian Super League (ISL) on the horizon, the only question in the minds of everyone associated to FC Goa will be ‘Have the Gaurs assembled a good enough team to challenge teams – both in the ISL and in the AFC Champions League?’
After a turbulent end to last season; FC Goa will be looking to bounce back quickly. With the new signings they’ve made so far, it looks as if the optimism is on another level. Let’s have a look at the strengths, weaknesses, key players and the expectations’ for the upcoming campaign. With the team’s core following former head coach Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City FC and with a new coaching staff and overseas signings having minimal experience of playing in India, it will be interesting to see how the team gels:
Last Season’s Performance: League Leaders
FC Goa were on a roll last season under Lobera. Alas, some differences between the management and the Spaniard prompted the club to take the huge decision to sack him, which left the team under the watch of assistant coach Clifford Miranda. Nevertheless, it was a bittersweet end to the last campaign, as the club finished atop the table but got knocked out in the semi-finals to runners-up Chennaiyin FC.
With Juan Ferrando taking over the helm at FC Goa, a lot will be expected from the Spanish coach. A man with huge experience and versatility in his tactics, Ferrando will be a boost for the club going into the season. He along with assistant coach Clifford Miranda, goalkeeping coach Virender Singh and conditioning coaches Roma Cullinera and Javi Gonzalez complete the current managerial setup.
This transfer window has been the toughest of all so far for the Gaurs. With many departures and arrivals at the club and very importantly the retention of most of the local players, the management has shown their vision for the development of domestic talent.
With a total of 11 new signings and six players being promoted from the development team, FC Goa have set their sights on the top prize in Indian football. New signings include five foreign players. That includes the club securing a loan deal for Aussie defender James Donachie and four Spanish players brought in on free transfers namely Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, Alberto Noguera and Ivan Gonzalez.
It was a huge loss for the club as they parted ways with talisman Ferran Corominas in the summer. The heart of the Gaurs’ midfield, as well as the key cog behind the link-up play between the defence and midfield Ahmed Jahouh, left the club along with Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai and Mourtada Fall. A number of other Indian players also departed including Chinglensana Singh, Jackichand Singh and Manvir Singh.
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Dylan D’ Silva
Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes
Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Ortiz Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel
Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaokar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Winkle Chothe