Several young stars have shone this season in a bid to make themselves known at the higher stage.
The Goa Pro League has been ‘a player bank’ in Indian football for many years. Adil Khan, Brandon Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, Mandar Rao Dessai, Albino Gomes, Seriton Fernandes, Liston Colaco have all plied their trade with different GPL outfits before shining in the top tier in India.
One of the best run state leagues in the country, the Goa Pro League saw one of its top performers, Jessel Carneiro, make his way into the ISL last season and what a move it has turned out to be!
Moving forward, we take a look at the top five performers this season who could follow in the footsteps of the Kerala Blasters full-back:
5. Chaitan Komarpant – Salgaocar FC
The Salgaocar FC Academy product, who was recently promoted to their senior side has emerged as one of the finest wingers in the league. The 20-year-old was part of Goa’s Santosh Trophy team which made it to the final of the West Zone Qualifiers last year. The winger was a regular starter for the state team and played an influential role in their victories against Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The winger made a great start to the league following a successful spell at the National Championship Qualifiers, as he was on the scoresheet for his side in the opening game against Corps of Signals. Chaitan has been among the influential players in the squad and has scored six times for his team, with assists to boot. He is arguably the most stylish player on the pitch and has great dribbling ability, scintilating pace and clever movement.
4. Suraj Hadkonkar – Dempo SC
The set-piece specialist has turned into a surprise package for former I-League champions Dempo SC in the ongoing GPL season. With 10 goals to his name so far, Hadkonkar has been a super-sub for the Golden Eagles, scoring most of them off the bench.
He is one of the finest free-kick takers in the league and has scored more than half of his goals through that route. On the other hand, he also played a vital role in his club’s double over Guardian Angel. In addition to that, Hadkonkar scored against Sesa FA, Salgaocar, Churchill Brothers, Vasco SC and Panjim Footballers.
He has proved his calibre by scoring a lot of goals and especially at times when the team needed him the most. The 25-year old has great stamina and is very lethal upfront, while also helping the full-backs in defence on many occasions. He has been very consistent with his performances since last campaign and has adapted seamlessly to Samir Naik’s system at the Golden Eagles.
3. Devendra Murgaonkar – Salgaocar FC
Another Salgaocar Academy product has been flaunting his name in the league since the last two seasons. Murgaonkar was the top scorer in his debut campaign in the Goa Pro League. He has managed to continue his amazing performances in the ongoing term and has found the net on nine occasions. The forward has taken on more responsibility upfront since Ronaldo Oliveira’s departure to East Bengal at the start of the season.
Being the club’s highest goalscorer, Murgaonkar also has several assists to his name and is one of the best forwards in the league. He has been great with the ball and is also known for creating his own chances. Sharp and speedy, Murgaonkar is a deadly finisher who is hard to get a handle on.
2. Stendly Fernandes– Sporting Clube de Goa
The U-20 winger has been playing brilliantly in the GPL 2019-20 season for Sporting Clube de Goa. The #7 is blessed with pace and can easily move past his opponents on the wings.
His exceptional dribbling ability also allows him to retain possession in tricky situations. Stendly is a kind of winger who likes to come short and be involved in the build-up play. With his prolific conversion rate of pacey raids into accurate crosses, he will surely be on the radar of the top tier clubs in the coming season.
1. George D’Souza – Sporting Club de Goa
The left-back could be seen plying his trade in the ISL next season, as his consistent performances from the last three campaigns in the GPL have kept his name in the wishlist of many clubs. With his physique and ferocious left foot, D’Souza can also play at centre-back. However, recently he has been playing on the wing, delivering deadly crosses to feed his teammates in the final third.
D’Souza is also known for his clinical and powerful set-pieces, scoring four goals till now, while assisting a few times too. Despite a few injuries at the start of the season, he has managed to make a great comeback and perform at his best.