2018-09-13 11:01:10 UTC
Marcus Mergulhao | Sept 13, 2018
Panaji: Good fruits are sometimes best ripened by staying on
the tree a little longer. Nobody knows this better than
Sporting Clube de Goa, and that's one reason why several of
their junior players, or those who are part of the reserves,
are allowed to move over to ‘neighbouring’ Panjim
Footballers, grow up and then return home.
Last season, when Panjim Footballers made their debut in the
Goa Pro League and finished a lowly ninth, not many eyebrows
were raised. The club did manage to achieve its goal, of
readying players for bigger clubs, and Sporting's decision to
sign seven of their players was proof that coach Savio Vaz
had got some things right.
"It's difficult for us to start building a new team each
season but our aim is to produce players. That's what we did
last year, and that remains our goal this year too. Of
course, it will be nice to finish a bit higher. We are
targeting a place among the top five," said Vaz, who was with
Sporting Clube juniors for four years before being
transplanted to Panjim Footballers.
Panjim Footballers surprised many by their decision to sign
foreign players last season. They were among the few teams to
enjoy that luxury with the inclusion of Egyptian midfielder
Fady Riad and Alphonse Shako from Congo. Both are unlikely to
return to the club, and Vaz will have to launch a challenge
with players of their own.
"I want my team to play good football. I want them to gain
the necessary experience of playing in the top-tier. They
know there are rewards for a good performance. The big teams
are all watching us play, and should anyone impress, they can
move up," said Vaz, who has coached teams like Curtorim
Gymkhana, Margao Sports Club and Wilred Leisure in the past.
There are inspiring stories. Clive Miranda and Schubert
D'Costa who were with Panjim Footballers last season are now
first choice centre-back pairing for Sporting Clube. Akeraj
Martins has also moved up the ranks, while Gurpreet Singh and
Gautam Dias has also found favour.
This season, Vaz is confident that many more will catch the
eye. For example, players like Dattaraj B, Trijoy Costa and
Prasil Kankonkar, all from Sporting juniors, know they need
to make a mark and return to where they belong. Others too
have similar ambitions.
"Last year we had a young squad, mostly under-20 players,
except for a few exceptions and the two foreign players. This
year, it will be different, surely," said Vaz.
The results have been there too. Victories against FC Goa
reserves and Calangute Association have been encouraging,
while two draws against Sporting suggest Panjim Footballers
will be far more competitive than last season.
Sherwin D’Cunha, Adney Fernandes
Prasil Kankonkar, Joyson Fernandes, Joel Colaco, Lessar
Raikar, Deva, Aaron Antao, Akram Chandan
Rahul, Dattaraj B, Marc Rodrigues, Valmiki Colaco, Patel,
Leslie Britto, Trijoy Costa, Alston Camoti, Lakesh, Velton
Snedden Rodrigues, Cyril Fernandes, Samson Fernandes,
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