ISL- Indian Super League

Manolo Marquez: I feel that football is more important than cricket here in Goa


June 8 2023
Manolo Marquez

The tactician spoke at length about why he is choosing the Gaurs and the state of football in Goa.

FC Goa made a massive statement of intent by securing Manolo Marquez as their new head coach. The Gaurs are showing huge ambition and securing the services of the Spaniard, who won the Indian Super League with Hyderabad FC, is a step in the right direction.

Manolo Marquez recently gave his first-ever interview as the head coach of FC Goa and talked about the numerous offers he received from ISL clubs including Hyderabad FC. He also gave his opinion on the importance of football heritage and why it was a major factor in signing for the Gaurs which have a rich football culture, something that was missing when he was coaching the Nizams.

Here are the excerpts from a candid conversation with Manolo Marquez as he prepares to take the position of the head coach at FC Goa:

Several Suitors

Manolo Marquez received plenty of offers from ISL clubs and he finally took the decision to sign for FC Goa. Speaking about the interest in him, the tactician said, “It’s true. We received… I say we because we are a team, it’s not about only me. We got, yes, seven, eight offers. And why I chose FC Goa? I was very close last season after we were champions (with Hyderabad FC), I felt that was a good moment to finish one cycle but finally, the agreement was not possible.”

Things that need to change

FC Goa were unable to qualify for the ISL playoffs last season despite coming extremely close. Talking about what needs to change at FCG in order for it to make the playoffs, Marquez said, “ I know the work of Carlos (Pena) and all the staff, they were without good luck because FC Goa was very close (to qualify for the playoffs).  I think that in terms of football, they deserve to qualify for the top six.”

Power of the fans

Manolo Marquez seems extremely happy to work with the support of the fans and explains how they were a factor in his decision to sign for the Gaurs. “We are speaking about one state that I think is the smallest state in India but maybe it’s the biggest in terms of football. This is one of the main reasons that you want to sign in clubs like this,” the tactician said suggesting that the football heritage and historical importance of football were important factors behind his arrival.

However, he also referred to Hyderabad FC to further his point. He said, “I arrive from one team that I love and I will love all my life, but nobody is interested in football in Hyderabad. They are interested only in Sunrisers (Hyderabad), they are always in the last two teams in the IPL (Indian Premier League), but they prefer this to the team that is fighting for the top (in the ISL). I feel that football is more important than cricket here.”

Need to make fans happy

Manolo Marquez has no expectations from the fans and feels that the football club needs to play well and the fans will fill the stadiums eventually. He said, “Before I arrived in India, people told me, the stadiums are full, practically, it depends on the scores. We played in Bengaluru, and at that moment, we won 3-0 in Sree Kanteerava, and the stadium was practically empty. After this game, they won 11 consecutive games and now finally the stadium was completely full.”

“We need all of them and we can promise that we will try to play good football. I feel that we can create a good atmosphere but we all need to work in the same direction. You will be proud of your players” he said in his message to the fans.

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