The 27-year-old spoke about his experience in Australia, moving to India and more.
Players coming from A-League to the Indian Super League (ISL) has become the latest trend in Indian football. Over the past few months, several young, dynamic as well as highly-experienced players have considered moving to India. Among them is James Donachie, the FC Goa new recruit on loan from Newcastle Jets.
The 6’4” centre-back has been sought as a direct replacement for Mourtada Fall, who recently left for Mumbai City FC. With the competition slated to begin on November 20th, Khel Now caught up with the man himself for a candid conversation.
He spoke about his experience in Australia, the motive behind his move to India and ambitions for his new club. “The situation back in Australia at the moment has changed a lot. They are going through some financial problems through pay rights and broadcast. On the other hand, the Indian Super League is going in the other direction,” began James Donachie.
“They’ve dealt with the COVID-19 problem really well – keeping the competition in Goa and the bubble. So, I had a good opportunity and it was a good timing to come here.”
He went on to explain how there is a buzz in Australia about the ISL, with the rate at which players are considering to make a move. There is certainly a connection between the two leagues that has been developed with the trade of players over the years.
The ISL has seen a boost in viewership in the past couple of seasons and it’s not just restricted to India, but overseas as well. With players like Erik Paartalu, Roy Krishna and others making a name for themselves in the country, their former A-League teammates have been pondering over a move too. Donachie shares a similar view. He said, “I know players who have come here, with whom I have previously played in the A-League. Andy Keogh was here for a bit, Erik Paartalu, I played with him in Brisbane. So, I’ve watched a few games here and there too.”
Speaking of the progress the league has made, Donachie explained how it is relatively still a new competition. He also added that the upcoming season would be different from the previous ones, in that it would be a challenge for him and the former A-League players to adapt to the relatively hot climate in India.
He went on to describe how the A-League has gained success over the past 15 years, despite the late troubles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition’s had some good years in the past and the 27-year-old believes that it’s just over time that they have managed to build a good product.
“The A-League went ‘too big, too soon’ in terms of the stadiums, but other than that it’s just time that I would say,” he asserted when asked about what the ISL can learn from their Australian counterparts.
As a three-time champion of the Australian top flight, James Donachie will be looked upto as a player with huge experience at FC Goa. The winning mentality he possesses is a quality the club would want to learn from. Speaking of the same, the player said, “Back in A-League, much is based on the final series and you have to be in a good position for the knockouts as well. So yes, I do have some experience in that aspect.”
“As for Goa, they’ve had a great time in the league last season and the final part is something I hope I can help them with,” he added.
With the AFC Champions League campaign also in sight, the defender expressed his eagerness to represent the team in their first-ever appearance in the competition. As someone who has already featured in the elite tournament in five editions previously, Donachie believes it is good for any team to be in it.
Moving on, FC Goa have had quite an overhaul in the squad, with several key players leaving and the club bringing in some rather experienced names as replacements. Speaking of the challenge of being a foreign signing, the player says it is quite normal for teams to have squad overhauls.
“Melbourne Victory change their team almost entirely after each season. Also, in the ISL if I look around, every team has had a lot of changes and even with the local players. So, I think everyone is going through the same thing and it’s about how much you adapt to it. That’s why I don’t think it is going to be a problem for me.”
Moreover, James Donachie shed light on what it was about Goa that appealed to him. “It’s just the professionalism. Everything’s been clear, the hotel, the reception at the airport and it’s been that way since I’ve been here. I’m just impressed by how they have done all that.”
Finally, the 2019-20 Melbourne Victory Players’ Player of the Season, spoke about how he is eager to hit the ground running for next season as he enters the final few days of his quarantine period. Although, there has been little to no communication with coach Juan Ferrando, Donachie is looking forward to helping the team on the pitch.