Goan Football has improved incredibly in the last decade. Goan clubs have performed exceptionally well in national tournaments while host of Goan players made their name with the national team. Improved performances of clubs and the players has to do with the system which was placed by the Goa Football Association. The state which officially announced their official sport as football and has their own league pyramid where a number of local clubs fight out to become the champions. This season was no exception. The new stars took centre stage, a new club emerged as champion and there were a few controversies off the field which made this a yet another memorable season of Goa Football.
Salgaocar – Champions Of Goa After Nine Years.
Goa’s Kingfisher Professional League is the top most tier of Goan football and one in which every Goan player aspires to play. This season’s Goan Professional League was absolutely amazing. We saw young clubs like Sporting Club de Goa and SESA Football Academy putting some splendid performance while a historic club like Vasco Sports Club got relegated to the 1st division.
Salgaocar FC despite having rather a poor I-League, was able to put some stunning performance to ensure that they won the league after a long gap. The green brigade was slow to start in the league but the youngsters rose to the occasion in crucial games to seal their first title in almost one decade.
SESA’s young team proved that with proper academy and guidance, a club with little known players can become a force to be reckoned. The youngsters from the academy put some impressive performances under their Nigerian coach Clifford Chikuwuma, a veteran in Indian football now. The young lads beat some heavy weights in Goan football and at one point time were leading the League table.
The disappointing story of the division was the Vasco Sports Club. They failed to prove their worth with some mediocre performances. Controversies and unprofessional attitude did not help them either, as the historic club was penalized for fielding unregistered player and was stripped off from crucial points. Possibly the best supported club in Goa, Vasco got relegated for the first time from Goan top flight since its inception.
Invincible Laxmi Prasad Sports Club
Laxmi Prasad Sports Club rise has to be like a Bollywood masala movie. The club which was unknownmost of the fans suddenly became a force in Goan Football. The club from Mapusa which was taken over by new owner Franky, has taken rapid strides in Goan Football. After getting promoted to 1st division they took just one attempt to get promoted in the Professional League. Laxmi Prasad also created history by becoming 1st club to get promoted from the 1st division to professional league without losing single game after scoring 30 goals. The club with their attacking brand of football got lot of attention from fans and their league matches attracted thousands to the stadium. The club owner after securing title has announced that they would look to add some national level trophies in their cabinet. As the level gets higher, the club also plans to get more ambitious. They want to play in I-League one day and looking at the way the things are going, that day is not far away. Alvito Mirranda of the club finished as leading goal scorer of the club with 10 goals.
Young Boys of Tonca had a miserable 1st division campaign and they finished without registering a single win before getting relegated.
Other Divisions Winners.
2nd division –Nagao Sports Club promoted to the 1st division.
3rd division– Panjim Footballers and CJ Brother got promoted to the 2nd division.
Super Cup Sums Up The Superb Sporting Performance.
Sporting Clube de Goa was counted among the yo yo boys of Goa few years back. But things have changed for the better this year and have performed like a champion. They remained unbeaten in the pro league and won the Super cup against SESA FA thanks to a last minute goal from Victorino Fernandes. This season’s performances have really raised hopes of Sporting fans for something big to come in coming years.
Goa Velha’s Knock Out Punch To Vasco SC
Goa Football Association Cup tournament started with a little bit of unprofessional approach as ten teams backed out of the tournament due to various reasons. This did not stop fans from watching some exciting matches. Goa Velha which has been producing some quality players since its inception, was up against the diminishing star of Goan Football, Vasco Sports club in the final. Both teams played some good football but was not able to convert the chances. In tie breaker Goa Velha were better of the two sides winning the title.
Goa Football Association’s rule of making age group teams compulsory for all the clubs in Goa proved very fruitful. Youngsters were able to show their skills and win some trophies. The GFA had number of age group league this season which was initial played Zone wise (Margao, Bardez, IIlhas, Salcet) and top teams from each group got into the playoffs to decide the champions.
Salgaocar FC Crowed U-14 Champions.
Salgaocar FC is known to have one of the best youth systems in the Goa. The club did not disappoint and were able to deliver the goods by winning the title after beating Sporting Club de Goa in a tie breaker. Both the clubs were locked in a 1-1 drawn full time and Salgaocar won the match 6-4 in tie breaker.
SESA FA U-16 Champions Of Goa.
SESA FA was ruthless in the zonal phase and continued being ruthless till the end. The club in the finals thrashed Dempo SC 4-0.
U-18 Champions are yet to be decided. Salgaocar FC will face surprise package of the season, Panchawadi Sports Club in the final of playoffs. Pachawadi SC surprised fans with their win over Dempo Sports club in the semifinal.
U-20 Taca League.
Unlike other age groups U-20 TACA league is played in two divisions, the 1st division and 2nd division. The winner of 2nd division gets promoted to 1st division TACA league. Salgaocar FC emerged as champions of the 1st division TACA league and Clube Sao Miguel de Taleigao clinched the 2nd division title.