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A new generation stepping up for FC Goa

Derrick Pereira

The next generation of players for FC Goa are making waves already, and tournaments such as the Goa Professional League provide the right platform to help them showcase their skills.

There has been a kind of passing of the torch as players like Liston, Princeton, Gama and Kingslee have completely moved to the first team setup. They have proved their quality. Now it is time for the others to shine. 

The new boys have adapted well, and tournaments like this one give them the right opportunities to get exposure and more importantly get more playing time which is required for the development of every young player. This helps them compete at a high level even at a young age.

As coaches we analyse the performances of individuals and that of the entire team regularly to see where they can improve, and after taking a closer look at our squad, we know that after taking some time to gel together as a unit, the players have started to show what they are capable of.

I think the presence of players who have made it to the ISL has helped the team develop – there is that incentive and pathway laid out unlike any other team in this country. After a difficult start, the youngsters are starting to look polished with every game and are now getting the required results.

The improvement in players such as Nestor Dias and Aaren D’Silva is admirable and though the individual performances in the entire team have improved greatly, I have specifically been impressed with the development of three players in Flan Gomes, Sezwin Fernandes and Sweden Fernandes.

What makes adapting easier for such younger players is the fact that there is a similar brand of football played by the club from the youth setup to the first team. The players understand their role better in the side because clarity is present from the very beginning. This allows easy transition up the ranks and gives the players the comfort to express themselves on the pitch.  

Though the aim of the football club is to win, that needs to come in sync with the kind of football we want to play. At this level, silverware cannot be the goal ahead. We may be the reining Police Cup champions but the only pressure something like that brings on players is to prepare them before a game to behave like professionals. If the players do that, results end up following
anyway.

It is also important that players develop in an all-round manner. The attitude, the technical aspect of the game as well as physical conditioning are together important to ensure that the team is performing at the level that they are supposed to.

This is because the game has changed so much since the time I played it. The focus on the game is both on tactical and technical these days to begin with, and when a coach has a philosophy, over time the players understand where they need to be and what their role is. Finally, there is a huge incentive for youth players here as FC Goa is one of the few places that provides such big opportunities to their young players to move up to the first team.

The likes of Mohammad Nawaz and Saviour Gama have moved up and done well in the first team, and I believe it is important for this to happen across India where local talent should be nurtured and given chances to succeed at the highest level. If there is a system introduced where local players are mandated to be a part of a team’s setup that is when we will see talent
flourish.

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