FC Goa had everything going right for them last when they were leading against Chennaiyin FC in the finals. Spanish midfielder Joffre’ s goal put the Gaurs into the lead and the Fatorda erupted in joy. It looked almost certain that they would go on to win the title but then they were hit by Colombian pocket size dynamite Mendoza. The Colombian snatched the victory from the Guars in front of their passionate fans. Joy turned into tears and 2016 will be the time when Zico and his men aim to go a step better and restore the smile on the faces of their faithful fans.
FC Goa has shown consistency with their players and their coaching staff and this should augur well for the Goan based team. The new management of Joydev Mody has retained Brazilian legend Zico as the manager and Zico in turn has retained majority of the foreign players who played under him last year. He has marshalled FC Goa to the playoffs twice and he will hope to win it for the third time.
Goalkeepers: Laxmikant Kattimani, Subhashish Roy Chaudhary, Sukhdev Patil.
FC Goa will most likely to go with all Indian goal keeping line up but there are still questions marks on the fitness of Subhashish Roy Chaudhary. He is yet to recover fully from injury and his place in the team is under a scanner. If he is unable to recover in time, then FC Goa might sign a foreign goalkeeper. Laxmikant Kattimani had made a name for himself last season. He was chosen ahead of a foreign goalkeeper last season. He looked brilliant at a times, but was inconsistency in few matches. If he is able to bring consistency in his game this season then Zico will have luxury to use 6 foreign players in the outfield. Young Sukhdev Patil is the third custodian in the team. The youngsters has played for junior Indian sides and will play the role of a backup keeper.
Defenders: Lucio, Gregory Arnolin, Luciano Sabrosa, Rafael Dumas, Denzil Franco, Fulgancio Cardozo, Debrabrata Roy, Keenan Almeida, Raju Gaikwad.
Zico have retained former Brazilian captain Lucio as their marquee player. Lucio was instrumental last season in the defence and as rated as one of the best performing marquee players.. His presence and leadership quality will come handy once again in the season. FC Goa have also retained Gregory Arnolin and Luciano Sabrosa both whom did a decent job last season. The duo however were found wanting when they had to face fast forwards. Zico has strengthened his defense by signing Rafael Dumas. The youngster is highly rated in Brazil and taunted as next big thing at Flamengo. He will be on loan at FC Goa from Flamengo. He expected to start along with Lucio in defence.
The team has a lot of Indian defenders at their disposal. They have retained last year players like Raju Gaikwad, Debarata Roy and Keenan Almeida while they have brought back Denzil Franco to Goa. The other signing in the defense is that of the talented Fulgancio Cardozo. The tall versatile defender recently made his debut for the Indian team and he can play at any position in the defense which makes him handy player to have in team. He is one of the Indian players to watch out for in the FC Goa team.
Midfielder: Joffre, Richarlyson, Matheus Trinande, Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Sahil Tavora, Pratesh Shirodkar.
FC Goa have lost important first team starters like PronoyHaldar and Bikramjit Singh but the biggest miss in the midfield will be that of the talisman Leo Moura who led the midfield admirably last season. His passes were inch perfect and the Brazilian was among the best midfielders in the league. The assist king will be highly missed by the team and the fans. In the absence of Moura, Joffre will have to take bulk of responsibility in creating chances for the forwards. He will have a new partner in form of Richarlyson who will be a straight forward replacement for Lucca who has now moved to FC Pune City. The midfield looks inexperienced with only Pratesh Shirodkar, Matheus Trinande and Sahil Tavora to back up in case of injuries. The Goan favorites, Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo Fernandes have made a name for themselves over the last two season. They were live wire on the wings and their fans will like to see same performances from the duo.
Forwards: Robin Singh, Reinaldo, Rafael Coelho, Julio Ceasor.
FC Goa have one the best attacking unit in the third season if not the best. Rienaldo and Rafael Coelho return to the club while they have signed India International Robin Singh and Brazilian Julio Ceasor. Rienaldo was among the top goal scorer of the season and will be aiming to put in another sets of impressive performances this season. Coelho was the late addition to the team but his performance was one of the best for the club. Ever since he joined team he was a constant threat for the rival defenders. His presence will boost the confidence of the team. Having a seasoned Indian forward always help a team, and in someone like Robin Singh FC Goa has one of the best forwards in the country at their disposal. He is coming from injury and will have plenty of opportunity at FC Goa to shine. He is expected to start with Rafael Coelho. Julio Ceasor is an experiences Brazilian forward and has played in number of top Brazilians clubs. He is predominately an attacking player but he might be used in midfield if needed.
Zico is only the second manager in ISL to keep his place at same team for a third straight season. He is a fan favourite and one of the highest paid manager in the league. He has the experience of being in play off twice and he would be aiming for nothing less than the title in his third innings at FC Goa
Images Courtesy : ISL Media