The Gaurs have made a name for themselves in Indian football in a relatively short period of time.
FC Goa made their entrance in Indian football when the club was launched on 26th August, 2014 and was to be a participant in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). The club signed various players, with Robert Pires being one of them. They also brought in Brazilian legend Zico as their head coach. The start however, wasn’t really soothing. Their maiden ISL campaign started with a 2-1 defeat against Chennaiyin FC.
The Gaurs remained winless till the 1st of November, when the club finally bagged their maiden victory in the fifth match, against Delhi Dynamos (2-1) with Jewel Raja and Tolgay Ozbey finding the back of the net.
Since then, the Goan outfit haven’t felt the need to look back. They have remained one of the most consistent sides in the league – having been to the playoffs six times out of seven editions. The Gaurs, seen as a role model to various aspirational clubs, are among the favourites to bag silverware this season as well.
For the last few seasons, the way in which FC Goa have performed, both on and off the pitch, has really been an inspiration to various clubs in India. In football, worldwide, scouting is today the most important aspect.
FC Goa too deserve credit for this. They have a brilliant scouting team, which has brought in numerous young talents at the club. A few examples can be Saviour Gama, Princeton Rebello and Devendra Murgaonkar who will be featuring in this edition of the ISL for the Gaurs. Another one is Liston Colaco, who is a regular at the Indian camp and is currently an important member in Antonio Lopez Habas’ ATK Mohun Bagan contingent.
In 2017, Derrick Pereira joined from Churchill Brothers as the Head of Youth Development, assistant coach of the first-team and head coach of the Reserves. This was perhaps a game-changing recruitment by the Gaurs’ management. Pereira’s input into the club’s nurturing of young talents has been immense. He later became the Technical Director after the departure of head coach Sergio Lobera. Along with the assistant coach Clifford Miranda, he has kept on working to promote more youngsters to the senior team.
FC Goa have followed a certain philosophy for the past few years, with both Lobera and now Juan Ferrando making the team play in a certain style, distinguishable from other competitors. Following a particular footballing philosophy helps a club to secure the accurate signings which will fit into their system. Hence, it helps them both financially and tactically.
Apart from the above, this also leads to the creation of a brand. Every big club abroad has followed a philosophy. A brilliant example in this case can be that of Barcelona. The Catalan giants have followed the philosophy of “tiki-taka” for numerous years. FC Goa, though they don’t possess a named philosophy, have a certain style of playing which relies heavily on possession-based attacking.
FC Goa have to-date remained a consistent club. Only once has it happened that the Goan outfit have failed to qualify for the playoffs (2016). In 2019-20 they won the League Winners’ Shield and secured a spot in the AFC Champions League. Their performance in the ISL has been really appreciable, be it their brand of football or the overall performance of the team. Even this year at the AFC Champions League, they secured three points, courtesy of three draws (two against Al Rayyan and one against Al Wahda) in six matches. The reputation and the level of competition was much higher than the ISL and the Gaurs deserve much respect for delivering so well in the competition.
Yes, they failed to secure a victory but their on-field performances against the top Asian clubs were ones to be applauded. As previously mentioned, the Gaurs have a brilliant scouting team. Adding to this, their reserve team is also one which portrays a similar manner of football as the first-team, as evident from their Goa Pro League and Goa Police Cup titles in the past few years.
FC Goa haven’t only been participating in the Indian Super League and the Super Cup (previously). They also give exposure to their young guns. Many of them earned call-ups to their Durand Cup squad. The reserve team further plies its trade in the Goa Pro League and also won it in the 2018-19 season.
They also possess a women’s team which participates in the GFA Vedanta Women’s League, a league organized by the Goa Football Association. The women’s team are currently ranked third in the league table this season, with two wins in two matches.
After finishing fourth in the league stage, qualifying for the play-off and later losing out to eventual champions Mumbai City FC in the semi-final, the Gaurs will begin their next ISL campaign in a few more days. Under Juan Ferrando, the club have already won the Durand Cup this season and they would like to continue their winning momentum in the upcoming league campaign as well.