Augusto Rodrigues | NT Sports Editor
India’s premier football league- I-League- starts next week. Once again , a time to glean through how football is doing in India. Goanfootball has had its presence in the I-League in many forms. Most importantly , three clubs have won it and one Dempo Sports Club – many times.
The I-League, however, is not only about winning. It is an opportunity to showcase home grown talent. Salgaocar Football Club, Sporting Clube de Goa and Dempo Sports Club are three Goan teams in the I-League- though Dempo SC is this year in the second division.
So, the flag this year will be swayed by Salgaocar FC and Sporting Clube de Goa all over the country.
Salgaocar FC –as of now- keeping in mind their new signings are showing determination of getting into the top pedestal the league allows. The team has fourteen players who have played in the recently concluded Indian Super league (ISL). Having fourteen players from the ISL is no great feat. What is important is the players selected to bolster departments in the team lacking bite.And, emphasis has been laid on speed and skill –some of is still being honed. But, opportunity has been given to all to prove their mettle.
Salgaocar FC appears to have learnt lessons from last season, the most important being- over dependence on few- to let the others run around. It failed pretty badly. The team after doing very well in the start had almost faded into oblivion towards the end. On paper, at least the, team seems well stocked with players available in every position and dependence looks to be a creed of the past.
Karanjit Singh is fit and is back guarding the goal. Salgaocar paid heavily to get subrata Paul for injured Karanjit last season.This year Albino Gomes appears to have matured to take his place in case of any eventualities.
Salgaocar FC has signed three players who played for Royal Wahingdoh last year. Two marshall the midfield through the flanks while one is a right back . Telem Jackichand Singh and Seityasen Singh have run through the flanks for Royal Wahingdoh and North East United FC while Reagan Singh plays right back.
SalgaocarFC has tightened the defence admirably for this season. Augustin Fernandes, Keenan Almeida, Nicolau Colaco and Reagan Singh will provide the first block to their goalkeeper.
The midfield – the goal search engine – will have quite a few new faces to start with. Lochus Ramare may be an old faithful of the team. But, faith does not pay when it is speed that is crucial. With Telem Jackichand Singh, Seityasen Singh, Gabriel Fernandes, Saran Singh and Gilbert Oliveira vying for a place with the existing players who helped the club in the Goa Professional League, the mix in the midfield can present an explosive combination.
The problem with Salgaocar last year was simple: the rest could not perform when Daryl Duffy was not on the field. Most of them could not even shoot, forget shooting at target. Many appeared to suffer from a psychological dent. Too much of dependence can ruin. This is what Salgaocar FC will be looking to come away from with the introduction of Haokip upfront.
In many ways, Haokips signing could be one of the best. With Haokipin, Salgaocar will have speedy legs in the back, midfield and frontline- a scare for any opposite team. Also, the dependence to score will fall through right to the defence and as such a goal will be expected from anyone. As the old saying goes: “the more, merrier”.