It was a magical comeback by the Goan club Sporting Clube de Goa. The flaming orange from the relegation zone at the start of the season ended in the top half of the season with their impressive display on the field. Sporting Clube de Goa under their new Spanish Coach Oscar Bruzan have performed very well in the I-League and the Goan League.
In their comeback season 2011-12 Sporting Clube de Goa performed really well. The main contributor of their performance was South Sudan International James Moga. The veteran striker was absolutely ruthless in front of the goal and of the season saw striker getting lots of attention from bigger clubs in the country. Pune FC acquired the services of the striker leaving Sporting Clube de Goa in a quest to find suitable replacement for him.
Sporting Started the season poorly, the club failed to get a finisher up front in initial few matches. Despite retaining almost all of the Indian players in the squad; The vacuum created by James Moga was yet to be filled and the club was finding it difficult to score the goals. The club in the first few matches played without any foreign players. Nigerian Playmaker Kalu Ogba and Guienea Defender Keita Babucar were nursing their injury and other two foreign slots were empty. After first 5 matches the club found themselves in the relegation zone and was considered to be one of the relegation contenders by many Pundits.
After a string of poor results the president of the club Peter Vaz felt that it was time for the change. The Passionate owner signed ambitious young Spanish coach Oscar Bruzan. The Spainiard had experience of playing in the Spanish second division. The Spaniard had no experience of managing a senior team and being in the foreign country managing a relegation threaten side was always would have been a difficult test for him.
Change in the coaching department brought lots of change in the player’s attitude. The player suddenly started to believe in themselves. The players were finding it much more comfortable playing tactical game of short passes. The coach handled Indian players like Victorino Fernandes, Stephen Barreto and Dawson Fernandes very well. The team pulled a string of positive results which not only helped them to stay out of the relegation zone but also finish in the top half of the table in the league.
The new coach brought in some of the Spanish flavor in the league. The coach signed 2 Spanish players and 1 Japanese player to strengthen the side and the new signings did not disappoint the fans. The new Spanish signings defender Angel Burlega and striker Jaunfri were extremely impressive and were the backbone of the team. The Japanese striker Sieya Sugashita found it difficult to find places in starting XI but was equally impressive when he was handed a game. The impressive ensemble of foreign players and contributions by Indian players helped Sporting finish a respectable 6th
Best Player- Ogba Kalu
The Nigerian playmaker kept his reputation unharmed. The midfielder was absolutely amazing with the ball creating lots of chances for the team and was also the Highest goal scorer for the club 11 goals. The play-maker apart from scoring the goals helped the team in the defence. After serving his injury when he came back Sporting Clube de Goa looked a completely transformed unit and he was adjudged man of the match many times.
Most Disappointing player – Adil Khan
A lot was expected from Adil khan after he earned a call-up to the national team but the midfielder failed to do justice to his reputation and largely absent this season. The utility player was instrumental in sporting comeback in the top division and had a very good season last year but injuries and some below par performance have kept him on the bench most part of the season and it comes as no surprise that he is seeking a move away from the club.
One of the high profile signings, Spaniard Angel Barlega was outstanding for the Sporting Clube de goa. The two time club world cup player helped them in controlling the defence. The defender was absolutely spot on with his tackles and stopping the rival strikers. The other main contributor in Sporting Clube de Goa’ s top half finish is Bruno Colaco. The young goal keeper brought stability in the team. Before bring the youngster Sporting were facing difficulties in the goal keepers department. The club had used 4 goalkeepers before bringing the Margao based 21 year old goalkeeper. The youngster kept 7 clean sheets which were vital for the team.
Pratesh Shirodkar debut season was absolutely amazing and the nippy winger was a delight to watch. The darting run from the winger helped his team build offensive moves. The short height winger caught many eyeballs on the big stage in his debut season. Stephen Barreto and Jovel Martine showed that hard work and determination can make you look as class players. These unheard names have made names for themselves in every house in Goa.
After a initial few matches where Sporting was searching for a striker now have plenty to choose from. The Spanish Coach Oscar Bruzan apart from bringing the Spanish striker Jaunfri who did extremely well, used Indian strikers Victorino Fernandes and Dawson Fernandes intelligently. The club will have a lot of options while going into next season in the striking department. Victorino Fernandes after being sidelined in the Ekendra Signh line up has suddenly found confidence in himself. The striker apart from scoring goals has troubled rival defenders. The other striker in the team Dawson Fernandes showed his class and talent which helped him to get called up in the National Probables.
Most Memorable Matches
The double over the Goan rivals Salgaocar FC has to be memorable matches of the season for Sporting Club de Goa. Flaming Orange was absolutely amazing in both the matches and team work of the club helped them to win both the matches away as well as home against the Salgaocar FC in the league.
Most Disappointing Matches
Sporting would like to forget the 2nd match of the season where they got drubbed 5-0 by their rivals Dempo Sports club. The team on the day was unable to compete with the Dempo Sports Club. The team lacked motivation and failed to threaten Dempo and were completely outclassed them in every department. Flaming Orange will also like to forget the match against Mohun Bagan in Round 23. After going through a purple match Sporting were expected to get a positive result but this match turned nightmare for the club. After going down a men, the club was unable to stop Mohun Bagan . The Kolkata Giants thrashed Sporting 5-1 in the match.
Most Memorable Goal
The team did not score a lot of goals like other top half teams in the league but few goals they scored were absolutely amazing and were epitome of great team work. But one goal which stands out of the all has to be the individual brilliance from Spanish striker Juanfri. The top corner finish from the striker against East Bengal was magical and arguably the most memorable Sporting goal.