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Nandy better than Pal: Brahmanand

Brahmanand Shankwalkar looks much younger than 53, looks good enough for 90. Rajeeb Mukherjee revels more about Goa's first Arjun Award winner.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2007 21:24 IST
Rajeeb Mukherjee

HE WAS Goa's first Arjuna Award winner in football, has the record of playing the maximum number of matches for his state and has been one of the finest goalkeeper it has ever produced.

Brahmanand Shankwalkar looks much younger than 53. In fact, he still looks good enough for 90 minutes. "I do play on and off and I do a lot of jogging," said the former India goalkeeper.

Having left the game in 1995 after 25 years in club football - this is another record that he holds - Brahmanand is now director of coaching at the Sports Authority of Goa.

"My job entails supervising the work done by the coaches in all the disciplines," He has under him close to 180 coaches. "We hold seminars, conduct camps for coaches and they in turn go on to share their knowledge with the trainees." In this he is helped by another Arjuna Award winner. Bruno Coutinho, who is a joint director.

Brahmanand, who played for India for nine years, rates Sandip Nandy as the country's best keeper. "He is focused and maintains a high level of concentration," said the keeper who works with Sesa academy and is also associated with Sporting Clube de Goa.

He feels Subrata Pal has the capability to become the best in the business, but needs some brushing up. "He has got a fantastic physique, good courage but needs to improve his timing.

"Just take a look at the third goal he conceded against Churchill Brothers. He came out a bit too early and lost the ball," said the man called 'Leopard' by the Mayor of Zambia during an exhibition match there in 1977.

Bagan, EB shocker

He still regrets not playing for a Kolkata club but feels getting the Arjuna Award after playing in his own state was much more satisfying.

"Inder Singh, Bruno and myself were some of the players who found success at home. The rest became famous playing in Kolkata."

But nowadays, it is the Goan teams who are ruling the roost. "I was shocked to see the condition of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. I think it all depends on sound management, good recruitment and eagerness to give junior players a place in the team. That's the secret behind the success of Goa clubs."