The 21-year-old has risen through the lower rungs of Goan football and has shown the ability to make it to the big stage.
Having made the headlines multiple times for FC Goa in the Goa Pro League (GPL), the name Sarineo Fernandes has become quite popular in the state. Playing for the developmental side of the Indian Super League outfit, the budding left-back has been consistent with his performances since the last three seasons.
The defender has been fantastic with the club right from the start, as his high calibre caught the attention of FC Goa’s Head of Youth Development, Derrick Pereira. However, his best came last season where his brilliant performances in the GPL saw him make into the state team for the Santosh Trophy.
Name: Sarineo Fernandes
Serineo started his football career with local outfit Young Strikers of Benaulim in the GFA U-14 Division in 2013. After spending a season there, he joined Salgaocar FC and subsequently Sporting Clube de Goa. With the Flaming Orange, Sarineo played in the GFA U-16 and U-17 Leagues and also played in the Bandodkar Gold Trophy with their U-21 side.
Impressed with his abilities, the then coach of newly-formed FC Bardez, Armando Colaco, roped him in as he made his debut for them in GPL in September 2016. Later on, after spending a season with them he joined Dempo SC on loan to play in the U-18 I-League.
From there, he was picked by the ISL outfit. Sarineo made his debut in the I-League Second Division in the 2017-18 season in the match against Fateh Hyderabad AFC, replacing Saviour Gama from the bench. After making some more second-half appearances, he finally made his first start against FC Kerala and there was no looking back. Thereafter, in the next season Sarineo Fernandes was a regular starter for Clifford Miranda’s side.
Moreover, he went on to play an important role in FC Goa’s first GPL title in 2018-19 season. He also managed to win two more trophies in the same season with the Gaurs – the U-18 I-League (Goa Zone) and GFA U-20 TACA Goa.
In the Durand Cup in 2019, Sarineo featured for FC Goa as he bagged a start in their 2-1 win over Chennai City FC. He then came from the bench to replace Saviour Gama in the goalless draw against Real Kashmir. Later that year, the youngster also led the side to an emphatic title victory in the Goa Police Cup.
He continued his brilliance in the recently concluded I-League 2nd Division season, finding the back of the net against Mumbai City FC, while also assisting few goals against Kerala Blasters, ARA FC and FC Bengaluru United. In addition, Sarineo Fernandes was also part of the team that thrashed Churchill Brothers 4-1 in the GPL last campaign.
Sarineo Fernandes is always alert in his area, protecting the goalkeeper from any potential threats. The left-back has a great ability to head the ball, make clean tackles and is known for his immaculate passing. Moreover, he has a good sense of marking opponents to avert any dangerous breakthroughs.
On the other hand, he can also be seen serving as an option for midfielders in the defensive half. With his pace and dribbling, Sarineo can easily make swift runs from the flanks, often giving a hard time for the rival defenders.
Aspects to Improve and Future
Looking at his improvement in the last three years under Miranda, Sarineo Fernandes ought to earn promotion to the senior side, but will have to work hard to get a place in starting XI. One of the key aspects in which the youngster needs to improve is his crossing. In addition to that, he also tends to hold the ball for a long time, allowing the opponents to regroup.
The 21-year-old, sometimes, shows signs of resemblance to fellow Goan lad Jessel Carneiro. Looking at his quality to defend and also make pacy runs on the wing, Goa will have another left-back of Jessel’s quality in the coming years in the form of Sarineo Fernandes.