India midfielder Brandon Fernandes and Jamie Vardy, Leicester City’s star striker, were both trying to catch the eye of the same person in November 2012.
Invited for a trial by Leicester City, then in the Championship, Brandon was training with the development squad at the club’s training facility, Belvoir Drive, for almost a fortnight when coach Nigel Pearson sent a message across and invited him to train with first team hopefuls.
“I trained with the first team and I remember some of the players who were also training with us. I quite remember Jamie Vardy, Jesse Lingard (who was on loan at Leicester City) and goalkeeper Kasper Schemeichel. They were not regulars with the first team and were keen to make a mark,” said Brandon to Times of India Marcus Mergulhao
As it turns out, Jamie Vardy set this edition of the English Premier League (EPL) on fire with his goal-scoring record, including 11 in a row at the start, Schemeichel emulated his father – Peter Schemeichel – to become the second father-son duo to win the Premier League and Lingard was on the rolls of Manchester United.
“The seriousness with which they approached their training struck me. If you looked at the way they trained, it was no different how they would approach a professional game. They always gave hundred per cent,” said Brandon, who started out as a junior player with Salgaocar Sports Club before being spotted and groomed at the African Soccer Development (ASD) academy in South Africa.
Brandon said he has great memories of his time in Leicester where he spent time with local Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, who championed Brandon’s career since identifying him as a special talent on a trip to Goa several years ago.
Brandon also met the Deol brothers when they were shooting for the Bollywood movie ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’ and watched the first team play Nottingham Forest.
“If I was with their developmental squad for a year, I would have made it to the first team but they wanted someone who could play for the first team straightaway. I was about 18 years old that time and not ready for first-team action,” said Brandon who was termed as “one of the strongest trialists” they have ever had from a technical perspective.
After having trials with Leicester City FC , Reading FC , Sunderland AFC Brandon currently playing for Mohun Bagan AC in I league . In 2014-15 I league his outstanding performance helped Sporting Club De Goa to remain in I league as he scored 4 goals and provided 6 Assist during crunch time of a relegation battle .