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The other side of football

AUGUSTO RODRIGUES

FC Goa’s reliance on foreign players and lack of progressive Indian strikers were two aspects that emanated from the last Indian Super league (ISL) match between FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos last Thursday.

The home side won but football in India is yet to start improving; five years after millions have been spent on a tournament that is expected to change the ethos of the game in the country. Charity, they say, begins at home and the home is where the heart is.

Delhi Dynamos Football Club were ahead of FC Goa in most departments of the game and despite being in the lead twice , surrendered in the end and allowed the hosts to remain with full points because they could not convert the chances that came their way. They had three open goal scoring opportunities and missed all. This style of missing has been a trademark of football in India.

Unlike other teams that have played in Goa, Delhi Dynamo depended on Indian players upfront. Daniel Lalhlimpuia was entrusted with the task to score and he let the team down badly.  Nandhakumar did find his way forward but appeared confused – did not know whether to shoot; hold the ball; or pass when in possession. And, Chhangte added to the confusion. Delhi’s decision of relying on players from India cost them the match.

Delhi Dynamos coach Josep Gombau decided to play a foreign goalkeeper instead of having five foreign players on the pitch and it cost his team. Albino Gomes would have done a good job below the horizontal- a better job then what his counterparts did forward. This risk was bad for Delhi Dynamos.

The scenario in FC Goa in respect to other teams is pretty different. FC Goa is what it is today because of the five foreign players in the squad. Had teams be allowed to field six foreign players then FC Goa’s problem in goal could well have been sorted.

Coro , Edu bedia, Ahmed Jahouh , Hugo Boumous and Mourtada Fall are the principal anchors of FC Goa and the football revolves round these five. It has been before and will continue being so until FC Goa starts reaping the rewards of its development squad.

New signing Lenny Rodrigues and Jackichand Singh are the only two local players with a bit of bite while the others are yet to find their moorings. This is not to suggest that they are by standees. Local lads play their part but that part does not appear sufficient to make a story from.

Before the start of the season there was talk of FC Goa losing Lanzarote to ATK. However, many forgot to remember that FC Goa had also lost Sujay Sharma. Sujay was the man responsible of suggesting players to FC Goa. Lanza, Coro and a host of other Indian and foreign players were suggested by Sujay. He was the principal scout of the team, once part of Derrick Pereira’s set up. Sujay understood football.

Other teams in ISL depend on foreign players but their dependence is not as deep as FC Goa. Separate the five FC Goa foreign players and the game will be absolutely different – the same as it has been now that Lanza is away. The absence of Lanza is making a difference but that difference has been well grafted with the subtle change in style of play.

On the topic of football let us shift from action on the field to off field and to administration of football in Goa . Goa Football Association (GFA) has a new president and Churchill Alemao’s victory was on expected lines. It was clear from the beginning that he was set to win and even efforts by his opponent s to use the media, failed to change minds.

GFA is in a mess and it will take the new dispensation some time to clear the mess. It  is over a fortnight now that Churchill has won and he is still unable to fully take over as the financial picture is still unclear. One would think that  getting the financial information is the easiest but for some strange reason, the person handling the accounts of GFA is having sleepless nights.

Churchill is trying to bring in Aleixo da Costa from GFDC as the new honorary secretary of GFA and I do not know whether it is by coincidence Rufino Monteiro has quit Goa Football Development Council (GFDC).

Management of football is witnessing the changes it needed to see and hopefully the new incumbent will be an individual with basic interest in the game. Football will prosper when it is kept furthest away from politics.

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