Vasco SC is one of the most supported and iconic clubs in Goa. The name alone used to draw thousands of fans to the stadium. The club which brought lots of laurels for Goan football is going into its worst phase ever. Vasco SC, now known as NRB Vasco, has been relegated from Goa Professioal league 1st time since the inception of the league. Will the Goan football fans ever see Vasco SC back ?
Glorious Past of Vasco Sports Club
NRB Vasco, after facing a drop from national league was never a side which could threaten stronger teams but they were competitive enough to produce good football. The club was formed by the resident of Vasco who named it as Clube de Desportos Vasco da Gama in 1951. It was named after one of the best Brazilian clubs called Clube de Regatas Vasco da Gama. Initially players used to practice on the Tilak maiden but a clubhouse was later constructed, which is still standing today.
Vasco has enjoyed considerable success in the 60’s and the 70’s when they won Goa league for 6 times. Apart from that they won prestigious tournaments such as Bandokar Gold Trophy, The Stafford Cup, The Kerala Cup and Salt Nagee Trophy. They also reached the final of Rovers Cup but failed to lift the trophy.
Since 80’s club had failed to sustain success on nation wide tournaments. They had a good run in the early 2000s in National Football League, fielding quality Brazilian players like Marcos Perreira and Rui Wanderley but failed to maintain their form for a long period. Contribution from fans who loved the club had kept them afloat financially till now.
Lack of professionalism.
In recent years, Vasco SC’s problem has been their poor performances both on and off the fields. The club has failed to produce satisfying results on the field while officials lack professionalism. Absence of knowledge and love for the club have cost them very badly. Recently, the club officials were found trying to sign a player who was already contracted to another club! They had a similar case in the Goa Professional league when they fielded an ineligible player. The Santa Cruz club of Cavellosim protested about this and were rightly awarded three points. Losing points like these was a major reason why Vasco SC suffered the final blow of relegation.
The club also had to suffer because of mediocre signings and changes in the coaching department. At the start of the season with sponsors like NRB, the club signed Serbian coach Davor Berbera. Along with a foreign coach they also signeded untested foreign players. The former Bangladesh Assistant coach courted controversy from start of the season when he opted to play younger players over senior players as he had less confidence over the seniors in the team. The club suffered losses against young teams like Sesa FA. In middle of the season the club has enough and decided to part ways with the Serb. The interim coach Sanchez did produce some good results before he was replaced by the former ONGC coach Subrata Bhattacharya as their coach. The newly appointed coach was not happy with the players at his disposal and released them to sign a new set of foreigners along with few Indian players. The changeover of the coach was too late for Vasco SC as Bhattacharya didn’t have enough time to turn their season around.
Can I-League division 2 bring back the smile on Vasco Fans?
NRB Vasco, now relegated from the Goa Professional league, will have another chance this year to redeem themselves. The club will participate in I-League division 2. Their chances of promotion look bleak but it is their only opportunity to turn around the fate of the club. Their foreign signings have not shown enough promise to deliver them the top division of Indian football. They also do not have a leader or a difference maker in the team.
Vasco SC is clubbed in the group C along with the Mumbai Tigers, Eagles, Hindustan FC, Kalighat MS, Luangmual, South United and Southern Samity. They need to be in top 2 if they want to qualify for the final round of the division. Things have started on a positive note for Vasco SC as they have accumulated four points from first two matches.
The Road Ahead
The club know that if they fail to qualify for I-league then their future will be very uncertain. The 1st division is not an attractive place to play in and quality players in the club will look for greener pastures.
Vasco SC should take this as a learning curve and bring some professionalism. They have to sit back and work on their strategy to run the club. They need to work on their youth system, in recent past they have signed players for the first team which have not performed up to the expectations. Clubs in India are starting to become professional and developing at the rapid pace. Vasco SC need to remain updated with the latest developments and work according to that. The club needs to bring good coaches at the youth level to reap benefits of it in future. Apart from giving attention to the youth system, they need to work hard to retain their fans as their strongest point all these years has been a strong fan support.
The coming months will be crucial for the thousands of Vasco SC fans. They will be waiting with bated breath to see if the club reaches I-League or if they get themselves inducted in a museum.