The experienced Head Coach has joined up with FC Bardez, a soon-to-be-launched football club in Goa and spoke exclusively to Khel Now…….

In the recent past Indian football has been in the news mostly for all the wrong reasons. Whether it was premier clubs shutting up shop or logjam over the proposed new structure of the Indian game and the stakeholders within it, frankly, there has been little for fans to be optimistic about. But, finally, a silver lining seems to be emerging through the dark clouds. As the saying goes one man’s loss is another’s opportunity and this is certainly true for Football Club Bardez. The Goa Premier League outfit will be launched this coming Sunday and they will look to grow under the stewardship of none other than Armando Colaco, one of India’s most reputed and successful coaches. As he embarks on this new and exciting challenge Colaco spoke exclusively to Khel Now.

Speaking ahead of the launch Colaco said the new club was an opportunity for all involved to express themselves. “It is a new club, when other clubs want to disband this new club has come and it’s a platform for everybody including me,” he pointed out. Comparing the club to a ‘baby in the womb’ the experienced tactician said he was happy to be on board and was looking forward to working with his senior players, whilst also developing young talent in a phased manner.

The former Dempo boss welcomed his old side’s return to India’s top flight, but lamented the All India Football Federation (AIFF ) for their role in the subsequent withdrawals of two of the country’s most historic clubs in Salgaocar Football Club and Sporting Clube de Goa. Colaco said that it was the federation’s responsibility to ensure that these clubs continue to exist. He also emphasized that it was important to get more and more clubs partaking in Indian football. The gaffer was in favour of increased corporate participation in the game, but was adamant that the I-League and not the Indian Super League (ISL) should remain India’s premier competition “ISL is not recognized by FIFA whereas the I-League is, that is why the I-League should be the premier league of India,” he explained.

Over the years Colaco has been known to bring young talents through the system wherever he has been and the veteran manager says things will be no different at FC Bardez.

The 63-year-old had spent quite a bit of time out of the game since leaving his last position with East Bengal and when asked whether he had considered walking away from the game in that while Colaco was as decisive with his response as he is with his tactics on the pitch. “Football is my oxygen and I cannot live without oxygen. I was desperate to find a club. Than FC Bardez knocked on my doors and I said ‘why not’ and I’m very happy.”

Looking ahead to next year’s Under-17 FIFA World Cup to be held in the country Colaco identified the lack of physical strength in Indian players as a key attribute that was holding back their developed and he stressed on the need for youngsters to implement the right kind of diet, similar to their overseas peers in order to overcome the problem. He said that since India were unlikely to win the tournament they should focus on using it as a valuable experience to build on in the future.

FC Bardez who will start off in the GPL in the upcoming campaign are targeting promoting to the I-League Second Division next season before climbing to the topmost levels of India’s football pyramid.

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Interview by Khel Now Reporter Ravish Narvekar from Goa . A true Football enthusiast & a die hard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he’s an avid foodie.