The midfielder also shared his thoughts on the Gaurs’ disappointing ISL season.

The highs of the Indian Super League final and the lows of losing out on a playoff spot – Brandon Fernandes has seen it all during his time with FC Goa. Along the way, he also developed into one of the most creative footballers in the country, becoming an asset for both his club and the national team.

In a season that was marred by injury, the midfielder made just seven appearances in the recently concluded 2021-22 edition of the ISL. In his absence, the Gaurs also struggled to achieve consistency as a team, eventually wrapping up their campaign in ninth place, their lowest position in five years.

The club have since appointed former player Carlos Pena as their new head coach, in a bid to return to their usual ways of success. Brandon Fernandes is elated at Pena’s return, having played with him for two seasons between 2018 and 2020.

“I’m very happy to have Carlos (Pena) back at FC Goa. We, as a team, benefited a lot from his performances and leadership abilities in the two seasons that he was here as a player,” the Indian international stated.

“His presence was extremely important for us as we lifted the ISL League Winners’ Shield and the Super Cup. As we look to get back to our winning ways, his return is going to be an added boost for the team.”

The 27-year-old has not yet forgotten his team’s disappointing run in ISL 2021-22. “Very few things went well for us,” he recollected and rightly so.

The move of former head coach Juan Ferrando to rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the middle of the season, dozens of positive cases in the COVID-19 bio-bubble and injuries to key players including Brandon Fernandes himself were some of the roadblocks that FC Goa endured during their campaign.

“This may be his first experience as a senior team head coach, but he knows very well as to how it feels to win laurels for FC Goa. That, I feel, is extremely important as it will restore the positive mentality within the team,” Brandon explained.

“While we were teammates, Carlos was someone everyone in the team respected. His impact on winning matches were felt both on the ground and in the dressing room. We are now more keen than ever to get back to winning ways.” 

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