The Gaurs finished bottom in a season that appeared doomed for failure even before it started…
After suffering heartbreak in the Final last year against Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa came into this season of the Indian Super League with expectations of going one better. In the event, they finished bottom of the table with just four wins, two draws and eight defeats, giving their fans little to celebrate. There were many ingredients that went into the making of this recipe of disaster, with hefty fines, panic-buying in the market, the inability to retain key players an an ill-planned preseason key among them.
Fact Sheet for ISL Season 3
Season Finished: 8th
Games Played: 14
Won : 4
Lost : 8
Drawn : 2
Win %: 28.57%
FC Goa wasted too much time in the so-called “Ownership Saga” making it difficult for the management to get out of the transfer market with good calibre players. In between this, they also missed out on some of the key players from last season like Narayan Das, Jonatan Lucca, Pronay Halder and Bikramjit Singh, who chose to sign for different clubs. Even the absence of bit part players like Semboi Haokip and Dudu Omagbemi was greatly felt.
After that they went out for pre-season training which was held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where they played around four friendlies with local teams (most of the lower division teams). This was the shortest pre-season by any club in the ISL.
However, their pre-season was a bit ineffective as they managed to register only one win, drawing two and losing one in Brazil.
Top 3 Players
Flop of the Season
Robin Singh: The forward was the first signing of the club even after knowing the fact that the striker was recovering from a knee injury and was out of action for almost eight months. The club’s decision to sign him was shocking for the fans. At the start of the season, he was unfit to play but as soon as he was available, Zico trusted him a lot and gave him starts in most matches, which he did not deserve. The striker was always in the wrong position and was easily marked by opposition defenders due to his lack of pace.
Robin’s Performance in ISL 2016
Matches : 10
Shots on Target: 5
Top 3 Performances
- FC Goa 5-4 Chennaiyin FC ( Match Report and Highlights)
- FC Goa 2-1 NorthEast United FC ( Match Report and Highlights)
- Mumbai City FC 0-1 FC Goa ( Match Report and Highlights)
Manager’s Report Card
It was part of Zico’s responsibility to get the best out of the players that he had been given, but in that respect, he totally failed. He also failed in respect of leadership. When everything around him was changing, he was the only constant at the club for the last three years. He should have been able to unite the team which he could not do.
It was his duty not to allow the negativity from the boardroom to percolate down to the team. But he also failed here. “I mentioned in the beginning of the league that Goa shouldn’t have participated this year because when all other teams were preparing themselves, we were facing trials because of last year’s fines.” Zico said after a humiliating 5-1 defeat against Delhi Dynamos, thereby giving players an excuse to hide their poor performance.
Even his team selection in the first few matches was questionable. He lost half of the season by being stubborn in his attacking philosophy, when he could have easily converted the results in his favour, if he could have rectified his team’s defensive errors as they were always in the game having scored at least a goal in most matches and also created many chances. Except for the last two matches against Delhi and Chennai, no team scored more than two goals against them.
He also tried to use some players in different positions where they complete failed to adapt to the coach’s style, which left a hole in those positions. However, Zico was back to his old ways at the end of the season where they managed to beat NorthEast and Chennaiyin but it was too late for the team.
Lessons to be learned
The signing of a marquee player should be based on his current performance and not on his glorious past:
When FC Goa’s marquee player Lucio was warming the bench, table toppers Mumbai City were enjoying the performances of their marquee player Diego Forlan. The underperformance of Lucio meant that the team had one less option at the back.
A coach’s tactics should be flexible, depending on the squad he has:
“The day I will change my philosophy, I will stop coaching,” Zico said after a defeat in the first match against NorthEast United.
The Brazilian stayed stubborn on his attacking mentality, which the team was ill-equipped to carry out effectively and it cost them many points.
Domnic Paes, Goa
The poor performance of the team this season has left fans like Domnic Paes feeling that they struggled due to a lack of continuity.
“The team has not done too well this year as Goa failed to find an apt replacement for Leo Moura. Moreover, the age of the foreigners was always going to be a big concern considering that the games come so fast. Although we criticize the team sometimes, yet we shall keep supporting our team hoping for the best,” Paes who is a Founding Member of the FC Goa Fan Club said.
Photos © ISL Media
Editorial by Khel Now Correspondent Ravish Narvekar from Goa . A true Football enthusiast & a die hard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he’s an avid foodie.