The 32-year-old midfielder also remarked that the Gaurs performed in a superior level than that of Indian football at the AFC Champions League.

Hailing from Santander, Edu Bedia has played for clubs like Real Zaragoza, Real Oviedo, FC Barcelona B, 1860 Munich and others. In his trade in India, he has made 95 appearances for FC Goa, scoring 13 times across all competitions.

It was the defensive-midfielder’s solitary goal from a free-kick, which helped the Gaurs lift their first-ever Durand Cup title. Also, he is the first goal-scorer for the Gaurs in the AFC Champions League.

Khel Now recently had an opportunity to sit with the FC Goa talisman in an interaction. Here are the excerpts.

Importance of an academy

FC Goa have been doing outstanding work with their grassroot programme. Some of the youngsters in their ISL squad have made it from their academy itself. When enquired on the importance of an academy to a football club and how does it help the club in the long run, the Spaniard stated, “It is much more important than people might think. The academy of a club is the identity of that club in the long term.”

Difference between FC Goa and other ACL teams

FC Goa had a memorable campaign at the AFC Champions League in 2021. They ended their campaign with three points, all of them coming in the form of draws against Al-Rayyan and Al-Wahda. Astonishingly, it was Edu Bedia who scored the first AFC Champions League goal for FC Goa, that too against a club like Persepolis. His goal in the 14th minute helped the Gaurs to take the lead. However, they eventually lost the game 2-1.

Edu Bedia mentioned the difference between his own club and the other clubs at the tournament. He also stressed on his team’s performance in the continental showpiece. “I sincerely believe that FC Goa competed in the AFC Champions league above the level of Indian football.  You have to be realistic, these clubs are far above any Indian team, in level, budget, players,” he quipped.

Learning from the coaches

At FC Goa, Edu Bedia has played under three different coaches in Sergio Lobera, Juan Ferrando and Derrick Pereira. Speaking about what he has learnt from each one of them, the midfielder asserted, “In my professional career I have had more than 25 coaches. You learn things from all of them.”

The midfielder also stressed on the difference between Indian and overseas coaches in the Indian Super League. “Football is football, it doesn’t matter where the coach is from.  With Derrick (Pereira), we have now gained defensive strength and confidence,” he remarked.

Mental Impact from the losses at the initial stage

FC Goa suffered three consecutive losses at the budding stage of the league in the ongoing 2021-22 season. However, they have now gathered themselves and are doing better in the competition.

“Those games had a very negative mental impact on the team. It took us a lot to recover. But now, we can see the FC Goa we want to be,” he commented.

Problems regarding the Floodlight at Tilak Maidan

A few rumours were hurling around that the spotlights at Tilak Maidan have been a cause of disturbance to the players during the match. The Spaniard explained that the spotlights are part of the game.

“Spotlights are never an excuse in football. Sometimes they can bother a bit, but they are part of the game,” he explained.

Reaction to Juan Ferrando’s sudden move to ATK Mohun Bagan

Edu Bedia
FC Goa’s ex-head coach Juan Ferrando with Edu Bedia, during the former’s tenure at the club (Courtesy- FC Goa Media)

FC Goa saw a mid-season change at the helm after head coach Juan Ferrando left the club to join Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan. While Edu Bedia mentioned that he had a mixed feeling regarding the move, however, he also added that everyone has the liberty to make their own decisions.

“My reaction was one of amazement and anger at the same time. Everyone makes their own decisions,” he quipped.

Wearing the armband and leading

One of the most senior figures in the dressing room, Edu Bedia is one of the four captains in the 2021-22 season for FC Goa. He mentioned on what makes a good leader and boldly commented on his approach towards the captaincy, “The first thing a leader has to do is set an example. I don’t consider myself the leader of this team. I consider myself one more piece like all my teammates. 

“Wearing the bracelet of this club for me is a great responsibility and pride. What FC Goa has given me is more than what people may think,” he added.

On helping the team’s youngsters

One of the few Indian clubs to be associated with developing youth, FC Goa have a number of impressive youngsters in their squad. The ongoing season has witnessed the likes of Devendra Murgaonkar and Muhammed Nemil getting featured in the line-ups. Other starlets in Leander D’Cunha and Papuia have also earned themselves starts in the league.

“We have very, very good young players. They can fail but the only thing they cannot do is stop competing in each training session and in each game. This is how you become a professional footballer,” the 32-year-old said.

Message for the fans

The FC Goa skipper concluded the interaction with a message for the fans. “We know that we have not started the league as they expected, but we ask for a vote of confidence, you have to believe in us. We are not going to fail you,” he signed off.

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