For Salgaocar Football Club, 2012/13 season was a tale of two halves. The club was staring at a possible relegation when they found themselves lying second from bottom after 14 rounds but made an incredible comeback to finish 7th and also managed to win the Goa Professional League. After going through a difficult last season where the coach and the foreign players were changed in midway, the club look more settled under the leadership of former Pune FC manager Derrick Pereira who played as a player at the club.
Goalkeeper : Karanjit Singh,Felix D’Souza, Albino Gomes, Royal Carvalho
The presence of Karanjit Singh in the squad makes the Salgaocar goal-keeping department one of the best in the country. Karanjit had an excellent 2012/13 I-League where he kept nine clean-sheets. Salgaocar conceded only 29 goals in the league and a lot of credit must go to Karanjit who will be looking to continue his impressive performance in the coming season. 33 year old Felix D’Souza roped in from state rivals Churchill Brothers is an able backup to Karanjit while the highly rated 20 year old Albino Gomes is expected to do a duty in Goa League. Albino infact, has already started in quite a few Goa League matches and has looked impressive. The youngster may even be seen in the I-League this season.
Defender : Nicolau Colaco, Rakesh Masih, Rosario Mendes, Chika Wali, Augostin Fernandes, Fulganco Cardozo , Anthony Cardozo, Roy Rodrigues, Dinesh Singh
Luciano Sabrosa’s departure has indeed left a big hole in Salgaocar defense as the Brazilian used to lead from the front. Nigerian Chika Wali has accompanied coach Derrick Pereira from Pune FC to Salgaocar and is expected to lead the defense this time. Chika Wali has a lot of experience of Indian conditions and is expected to fill the hole left by the departure of Sabrosa. Augustin Fernandes impressed with his display last season when he chipped in with four goals and the 24 year old central defender is a vital cog in his club’s back-line. Nicolau Colaco started 25 of the 26 matches for Salgaocar last season and the right back, who is an integral part of the team, is a sure shot starter while the opposite side is likely to be occupied by Fulganco Cardozo.
After a disappointing last season with Mohun Bagan, former Indian international Rakesh Masih will be gunning to revive his career at Salgaocar. Rosario Mendes is another option at the right back spot and he can also play on the right side of the midfield. Anthony Cardozo is one of the three juniors who has been promoted from the U-20 squad to the senior team this season and the youngster is a versatile defender who can play on the wings as well as the center of defense. 24 year old Dinesh Singh and 21 year old Roy Rodrigues , both of whom made their debuts last season are the other defenders in the team.
Midfield : Rocus Lamare, Randeep Singh, Gilbert Oliveira, Francis Fernandes, Brian Mascarenhas, Clifton Dias, Godfrey Silva, Seiji Saito, Karma Tsewang, Jeevan Nalge, Rayman Fernandes
The Salgaocar midfield is balanced mix of youth and experience. Rocus Lamare who has been with the club for more than eight years is now is expected to lead the midfield. Japanese recruit Seiji Saito is expected to give him company in the heart of the Greens midfield and the coordination between the duo will be a key to the club’s fortunes. Francis Fernandes was the best player of Salgaocar last season and the right winger will look to continue his impressive form from last season where he scored six goals and notched up several assists. Central midfielder Randeep Singh and right half Gilbert Oliveira have been with the team for sometime now and will be gunning to dish out some impressive performances this season as well.
Brian Mascarenhas, the highly rated 21 year old left midfielder was in news last season when he signed for Salgaocar from rival Dempo. Brian played nine matches last season and it is likely that he will play a larger role this season. Rayman Fernandes, another player promoted from the U-20 squad this season, is well known for his set-piece delivery and technique and has been with Salgaocar since he was 14. Karma Tsewang had an impressive season with Pune FC which saw him earn a place in the national camp and the speedy left winger will look to carry on his form. Youngsters Clifton Dias, Godfrey Silva and Jeevan Nalge complete the Salgaocar midfield and are likely to be restricted to action in the Goa Professional League.
Striker : Claude Gnakpa, Milagres Gonsalves, Marcus Masceranhas, Darryl Duffy, Albino Pereira, Dada Nabeel
The forward line was Salgaocar’s achilles’ heel last and it was primarily due to lack of quality foreigners upfront. This season after a long trial, the club has roped in Claude Gnakpa and Darryl Duffy. 29 year old Duffy has played for some major English, Scottish and Welsh clubs in his career, which includes teams like Swansea and Hull City and also played for the Scotland B squad. Duffy has already played in a handful of Goa Pro League games and has settled in well. On the other hand French striker Gnakpa comes in with an experience of playing in countries like Spain, France, Scotland and Iraq and can also play as a striker. Gnakpa scored in his debut match for Salgaocar after coming on as a second half substitute. Salgaocar’s fate to a large extent will depend on the striking duo of Duffy and Gnakpa.
Albino Pereira is the third player promoted from the junior ranks and the 20 year old is an exciting talent having scored 7 goals in the U-20 I-League last season. The duo of Milagres Gonsalves and Marcus Masceranhas were consistent performers last season and will look to carry their form into the coming season. The duo will be entrusted with the task of assisting the foreign strikers. Dada Nabeel is the other striker in the Salgaocar team.
As a player Derrick Pereira enjoyed a successful spell with Salgaocar and so when he decided to leave Pune FC, Salgaocar was the natural choice for the Goan. A brilliant manger, well versed with the I-League, Derrick is a credited with masterminding Pune FC ‘s rise to the top and is a former I-League winner with the now disbanded Mahindra United. With a host of young players at the club Derrick will look to build the team for the future as he did at Pune . There are huge expectations on him from all sections of fans and it remains to be seen how he deals with those expectations but on paper the Salgaocar-Derrick Pereira seems to be a match made in heaven.
The Salgaocar squad has undergone lot of changes both in terms of players and the coach and it remains to be seen how they gel before the I-League starts. After having finished 7th in the last season, it is expected that under the tutelage of Derrick Pereira will finish in the top 5 in the I-League and upset a few top clubs in the campaign. A better finish is possible depending on how the new set of players play. Having been drawn alongside Mohun Bagan, Shillong Lajong and Mumbai FC in the Federation Cup, Salgaocar should be able to pip Bagan, who will be their main rivals, and qualify for the semi-finals . Salgaocar are the defending Goa League champions and look all set to retain the Goa Pro League title. The side is currently at the third place in the league.
I-League – Top 5 Finish
Federation Cup – Semi-finalist
Goa Pro League – Winners