Salgaocar Football Club will start the new Goa Football Association (GFA) season with a thrust to the old saying – old wine in a new bottle. The club will be the wine and the new bottle will be the sixteen new players who were part of the team in the first division last season.
“The boys have been with me for the last five years and a few of them have played at all levels of competition. Many of them will be part of the senior team for the first time and that will be the difference. The standard of play improves every year and representing Salgaocar in the Professional League will be a new experience for me and some of the boys,” stated former Salgaocar FC U-20 coach and present senior coach Levinio Pereira.
From the thirty two players in the squad, sixteen have been promoted from the First Division team while sixteen have been with the senior team before. Midfielder Mackroy Peixote will most probably bear the tag of most seasoned player from the lot.
Salgaocar FC have begun practice for the new season and Devendra Murgaokar, Ribhav Sardesai and Ronaldo Oliveira are the first few who stand out amongst the not-so-new kids in the old bottle. Devendra, who combined well with Liston Colaco and was one of the team’s main goal getters last season, will continue shouldering the onus of scoring.
Ribhav Sardesai had a great U-18 season and was the star of the team in the First Division will be the schemer that coach Levinio will greatly depend upon and Ronaldo Oliveira will be another striker capable of getting the dwindling fans back to the stands.
“In my first year, I have targeted to finish amongst the first five in the Goa Professional League. The team will go higher in the second year. Maybe then, we will target to finish amongst the top two. It is a new experience for us to be in the Professional League but it is not something that is going to shock us because most of us have been together for the last five years,” said Levinio when asked where he expects to finish.
“I have an excellent goalkeeper in Jason D’Mello. Saurabh Patil, Daniel Gomes and Samson provide a good defensive wall and Mackroy Peixote will handle the midfield along with Ribhav. I have two good strikers in Devendra Murgaonkar and Ronaldo Oliveira,” said Levinio when asked which players from amongst the 32 he would be falling on the most through the season.
“I see Dempo Sports Club, Sporting Clube de Goa and Churchill Brothers FC to be our strongest opponents in this season. I see them as strong opponents in the order I told you because there is a history of football involving us,” said Levinio when asked to name the teams that will pose a challenge.
“Most of the boys were part of the Salgaocar FC team that won the GFA First Division for the last two years. All the boys were due for promotion. Football is all about having the fittest players on the field. The boys are in shape and all of them know my style of play. They know what I expect from them and therefore the absence of senior players in the team will have no impact on their growing up. They need to keep themselves fit and play to the style they are used to,” stated Levinio.
The New entrants from the U-20 squad:
Deepanj Debriat, Adil Ansari, Karan Shirodkar, Flgan Gomes, Shawn Pereira, Jovan Dias, Rowlin Almeida, Ribhav Sardessai, Asif Pathan, Kaushik Neogi, Josbon Fernandes, Selwyn Miranda, Divon D’Souza, Chetan Komrapant, Ronaldo Oliveira and Stephen
The Old Faces:
Jason D’Mello, Raju Kumar, Nora Fernandes, S Alvares, Godfrey Mascarenhas, Saurabh Patil, Danil Gomes, Samson Pereira, Denil Rebello, Mackroy Peixote, Samuel Costa, Saahish Haldankar, Devendra Murgaonkar, Andrew John and Shayne