Goan domination in Indian football from last few years has been mainly due to development in grass root football in the state. The foremost name comes in mind when you think of major contributor in this development has to be Sesa Football academy. Sesa junior football academy was started in 1999 when Sesa management decided to disband their senior team after failing to qualify in Indian national football league. Since then academy has focused on finding and developing young talent in Goa.
SESA Academy was in news after its exploits in the Durand Cup where it reached the semi-finals after holding pre-tournament favorites Pune FC to a draw. TheHardTackle explores more about the academy, looks at the current crop of players and sees what lies ahead for the academy.
A Closer Look at SESA Football Academy
The Sesa junior football academy is situated at Virdi, Sanquelim Goa. It has a beautiful full size football ground, recreational hall and Multi-purpose gym. Total number of player in academy is around 36. The junior boys of the academy participate in age group tournaments organized by Goa football association. Their performance has been admirable winning U-18 league in 2008, runner up in 2010-11, and winner of U-20 league in 2007 and 2008.Currently, the chief coach of academy is Agostino Dias, who has experience of coaching young footballers in Goa United Sports Academy.
Sesa management decided to start senior academy in 2008 in Sirsai, Asnorda Goa. This decision was made after it was noticed that young graduates from junior academy are warming the benches of bigger clubs in Goa. The main aim of starting senior team was providing playing time for junior academy graduates and developing them further. The 7000 square meter campus has a 100m x 65m football ground with 6 sprinklers along with facilities such as physio/Doctor room, sauna and steam bath, Indoor games such as table tennis, pool table, academy.
Sesa recently started a football school for children of age group of 12 and have recruited players from nearby areas. Sesa Football Academy has produced an encouraging number of quality players some of whom have went on to play for Indian national team. This list includes the likes of Denzil Franco (Dempo), Rowlison Rodriques (Churchill Brother) , Mickey Fernandes (Mumbai FC) and more recently, Adil Khan (Sporting).
Sesa Football Academy Squad Analysis 2012-13
The senior team currently plays in Goa professional league after getting promoted in 2007-08 by winning the Goa 1st division league. They also play in I league division 2. Recently, the team has improved their performances in national level tournaments such as Durand Cup. Current chief coach of senior team is Nigerian Clifford Chukuwuma, a former Federation Cup and I-League runner-up with Sporting Club de Goa. The coaching team also consists of former India International Brahmanand Sankhwalkar as goal keeping coach.
As expected, Sesa have lost a number of players in the previous transfer season with them signing on dotted line with various Goa professional league clubs. For the upcoming season Sesa has signed a number of players from other clubs and has promoted few players from their junior academy. It will be very interesting to see how new players adapt to professional football at such competitive level.
Goal keepers: Thockchom Roshan Singh and Neves Fernandes
SESA has lost its regular goalkeeper Bruno Colaco, who was quiet impressive last season, to Margao SC. The team will need a good performance from second choice goal keeper Thockhom Roshan Singh. Young Neves Fernandes has to step up and deliver when the club needs him, With Brahmanand Sankhwalkar as goal keeping coach these young goal-keepers will look to improve in every match they play.
Defenders: Jayganesh Goltekar(captain), Valinton D’Silva,, Shishuram Chutia, Agnelo Quadros, Melvin Lobo, Daniel Albert Vales, Daniel Fernandes and Samson Fernandes
Back line, which did an exceptional job against top Goan clubs in pro league, remains same . Captain Jayganesh Goltekar will have good support from Valinton Dsilva, Shishuram Chutia, Agnelo Quadros and Samson Fernandes. With experience of last season under their belt, we can expect more improved performance.
Midfielder: Girish Naik, Andrew Don Bosco, Charles Miranda, Sunny Singh, Yogesh G. Kadam, Inacio Colaco, Marcus Fernandes, Steven Fernandes, Jonychand Singh and Richard Cardozo
After losing one of team best players and former captain Pratesh Shirodkar to Sporting club de Goa. the team has to find another leader in middle of the park. Sesa will depend on dribbling and neat crosses of winger Girish Naik from the left flanks. Andrew Don Bosco and Yogesh Kadam have excellent ability in controlling the game in midfield. Inacio Colaco has been the shadow striker in team in recent Durand cup and has shown that he can score goals from time to time. Joychand Singh and Charles Mirranda are two other youngsters on whom the club is depending on.
Strikers: Chikudi Chukuwuma, felix barreto, Amol Salgaocar, shadab Shaik
Wonderkid of Sesa Chukuwuma will be the linchpin of their attacking department. The strong striker has shown his brilliance last season by scoring goals at will. Apart from Chukuwuma, Sesa has strikers like Felix, Amol and Shadab who can put pressure on rival defense.
Durand Cup 2012 – SESA Impress All
Though a lot of top I league clubs decided not to be part of Asia’s oldest tournament the Sesa management decided to give their boys taste of this historic tournament. Sesa was placed in group III along with Central Reserve Police and Pune Fc. Sesa senior team did reasonably well by reaching the semifinal. Though academy boys didn’t reach the final this was good experience for them and a good preparation for upcoming Goa professional league
Sesa Started their journey in Durand cup against minnows of the group CSR. Sesa midfielders Yogesh Kadam(62’), Inacio Colaco(72’) scored the goals in second half for the academy boys but CSR came back in level term in dying minute of game due to lack of concentration in Sesa defense to level to scoreline. Don Bosco scored in the last few minutes to ensure a dramatic win for Sesa. In the second match Sesa manged a draw against Pune FC thanks to a late goal from Chikudi Chukuwuma and the draw ensured SESA’s passage to the next round.
Sesa started the semifinal against Air-India with lot of intent and purpose and kept on piling pressure on Air India. The Mumbai based I league club soon found themselves 2 goals down with goals of Sunny Singh (35’) and Chukuwuma (44’). Second half started with academy boys decided to protect the lead and slow down the tempo of the game and that backfired them as Airmen equalized through Pradeep(55) and Gagandeep (90+4’). In extra time both teams failed to add any more goals to their tally and match went through penalties. In penalties Air India kept their nerve and won the match 5-6 and knocked Sesa out of the tournament.
The Road Ahead
Sesa is looking to improve the standard of facilities and coaching in the academy and they are looking to sign a foreign coach. They are also looking up for possibilities to tie up with European club, like Dempo’s with FC Midtjylland. They want to be supply chain for Indian national team, providing more quality players to the national team.
‘Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”, Sesa has done what is essential by providing the young footballers better if not best facilities to develop in the country and we scan expect to see next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo coming from Sesa football academy
Written by Guest Author Ashlesh Ajgaonkar. Follow the Author on Twitter