Mandar Rao Desai has been one of the many talents featuring in the Indian National Team setup from Goa. The 22 year old plays as left winger, and has the ability to take one an beat players at will. A hard-worker off the ball, Mandar Rao Desai is perhaps the new face of Goan Football. Mandar, highly impressed with his performances against Pakistan and in the 2014 Asian Games.

“Playing for the Indian National team was really a great opportunity. It was an amazing experience playing against Pakistan team in a friendly in Bangalore and it was even more special playing with players like Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Francis Fernandes, who are some of the greatest players in India. It is always a good experience playing against a good team and Pakistan team is a very good team. We won one game and lost the others but it was really a great experience playing against them. Then we went for the Asian Games where I got the chance to play against teams from the UAE and Jordan, which was another wonderful experience, since we got to learn a lot. I also try to improve day by day by putting in a lot of hard work.” said Mandar in an interview with TheHardTackle’s Joseph Solomon

The Goan was subsequently signed by FC Goa, and has featured alongside Robert Pires, while training under the legendary Zico.

“When I came to know that I was part of FC Goa, that time I was away for nationals. I was really happy when the news came to me, because it is a great opportunity for us and we will get to play with some great players.”

“Every time I go on the field I learn many new things from my senior players as we have some good players in our team at FC Goa. We have greats like Robert Pires and Andre Santos on the squad which is an excellent opportunity for us players. Every game and every practice session is a learning experience and I’m really lucky that I get to play alongside them. Also our coach Zico helps us a lot in learning new things.”

“Coach Zico is really a good person and a great coach. He has always been supportive and helps us in learning new things .We are very lucky to have him as our coach. He is a really good teacher and guides us in the right directions.”

Although Mandar has featured only once for FC Goa, the Goan Wonderboy once again impressed with his debut. Delivering the cross which was cushioned in and then headed home by another Indian, Jewel Raja.