The Gaurs have been represented by several high-profile players in the past six seasons.
FC Goa is one of the most high profile clubs in the Indian Super League, with the franchise making into the playoffs for a record five times out of six. They were also the finalists in 2015 and 2018-19 season only to be disappointed by Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC respectively. The Gaurs have also seen a rock bottom in the 2016 season under coach Zico. The Brazilian was eventually replaced by Sergio Lobera in the 2017-18 season, who led the club to a historic AFC Champions League qualification following a top finish in the 2019-20 season.
The Goan club recently parted ways with the Spaniard and appointed his compatriot Juan Ferrando. It will be interesting to see if the new tactician continues FC Goa’s form in the league with the new recruits, as most of the important players has already left the club for better offers from the other clubs. However, time will tell the future of the Gaurs under Ferrando but for now, Khel Now takes a look at their all-time best XI from the past ISL seasons.
Goalkeeper: Mohammad Nawaz
The goalkeeper was initially signed in their development side where he took just few days to prove his caliber and make it into the senior side. Former coach Lobera chose him over experienced keeper Naveen Kumar and the 20-year-old custodian proved him right as he performed splendidly in 2nd Division I-League and ISL.
Nawaz has made a total of 33 appearances for the Gaurs and kept nine clean sheets. His worthwhile performance in Hero Super Cup final last year proves why he is rated as one of India’s most talented young custodians.
Right back: Seriton Fernandes
The defender plied his trade with Churchill Brothers before signing for the Gaurs. His brilliant performance in the I-League caught the eye of Lobera, which resulted in him getting a direct entry into the starting XI. Since his arrival in 2017, the 27-year-old has made 59 appearances across three seasons and has played almost every match for the Gaurs. The determination that he shows on the pitch with on-time tackles shows his importance in the team.
Centre back: Mourtada Fall
Though the centre-back has spent just two seasons with the Gaurs, he has become one of the best defenders FC Goa have ever had. Lobera landed him in his second season with the club and seemed rock-solid in the middle with his speed and ability to clear the ball in time proving vital. Mourtada Fall has a good height and even scored nine goals for the Gaurs.
The Senegalese defender has proved his worth time and again playing a total of 40 matches and an important role to clinch the Hero Super Cup in his first season and also ISL league-winners in the next.
Centre back: Gregory Arnolin
Coach Zico had shown a lot of trust on the Frenchman who was with the club in their first three seasons. The centre-back made 39 appearances for the side, performing seamlessly as the opponent attackers found it difficult to go past him. Arnolin’s perfect interceptions and clearances made him an important part of Zico’s starting XI in the first three seasons. He was also on the score sheet on three occasions.
Left back: Narayan Das
The left-back was one of the regular starters in the first two seasons for the Gaurs. He played an influential role in FC Goa’s first-ever run to the playoffs. However, he missed the playoffs due to an injury and FC Goa lost the match to then Atletico de Kolkata.
After spending the following two seasons with East Bengal and now defunct ISL outfit FC Pune City, the Tata Football Academy graduate was once again signed by FC Goa and yet again proved his quality with a string of brilliant displays in 19 appearances.
Central defensive midfielder: Lenny Rodrigues
Following two successful seasons with Bengaluru FC, the defensive midfielder penned a two year deal with FC Goa.
Lenny Rodrigues showed his importance in the midfield and also helped the defence whenever in need, making 41 appearances in the first two seasons in the process. He also played a vital role in FC Goa’s Super Cup victory in 2019 and AFC Champions League qualification in 2019-20. Rodrigues recently signed a two year contract extension with FC Goa.
Left midfielder: Mandar Rao Dessai
The longest serving member of FC Goa, who also has the most appearances for the club (97). Mandar also found the net on six occasions, whereas he has 11 assists to his name. The winger was a fan-favourite until he departed ahead of the 2020-21 season.
He was recently awarded the captain’s armband, having performed unexpectedly well under Lobera in the new position, which also resulted in a national team call-up. As a skipper, Mandar Rao Dessai won the Super Cup and led FC Goa to a top-table finish, which earned them a AFC Champions League spot.
Central attacking midfielder: Leo Moura
Though the attacking-midfielder was part of the team for only one season, he made his mark in the ISL with an outstanding performance in 2015. Moura made 16 appearances, finding the net on couple of occasions and also making eight important assists which helped his side to reach the finals. However, injury in the finals forced the Brazilian midfielder to leave the pitch at half time.
Right midfielder: Brandon Fernandes
Like Seriton Fernandes, Brandon is another local player who was signed by the Gaurs. The creative midfielder has made 52 appearances until now, scoring five goals and registering 15 assists. The 25-year-old is very creative when it comes to dribbling and has also been accurate with the free-kicks. Like Mandar, Brandon also got the national team call-up following his consistently brilliant performances in the last three seasons.
Striker: Hugo Boumous
The 24-year-old attacker made 42 appearances for the club, scoring 16 goals with 17 assists in the last three seasons. The French-Moroccan player scored 11 goals in the 2019-20 season and was also the second-highest scorer at the club after Ferran Corominas. Hugo Boumous is brilliant with the ball at his feet, especially with his dribbling skills in the attack. His accurate positioning, immaculate passes, swift runs made him an important player at FC Goa.
Striker: Ferran Corominas
Undoubtedly the Golden Boy of ISL, Corominas played an important role in every success at FC Goa since his arrival in 2017. He is the ISL’s all-time highest goal scorer with 48 goals from 57 appearances. The Spanish forward has won the Golden Boot in back-to-back seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) and was also the second best in 2019-20 with 14 goals. On the other hand, he is also second in the assist list with 16 assist in three seasons.
He has been a nightmare for most of the teams as he finds the net more often when in shooting distance. Coro has scored two hat-tricks in 2017 against Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters and is dangerous and quick in front of goal.
Head Coach: Sergio Lobera
Following the departure of Zico, FC Goa landed young Sergio Lobera in 2017. The Spaniard eventually took the Indian Super League by storm. He brought in the Spanish influence in the FC Goa’s football style which helped them play an attacking and attractive brand of football. The next season saw Lobera’s men making it into the final but returned disappointed as Bengaluru FC scored in added injury time to lift the ISL trophy in 2019. However, they managed to win the second edition of the Super Cup in the same season, which was the first-ever silverware in the Goan outfit’s cabinet.
In the 2019-20 season, FC Goa were unstoppable once again until the management surprisingly sacked him with three league matches to go. But Lobera had already sown the seeds as they finished top of the table and gained a place in the AFC Champions League – a first for any Indian club. Since then, Lobera had his time off in Spain and has been linked with Mumbai City FC for the upcoming season.