BEING AN expectant father, I’m beginning to appreciate the saying “Like father, like son”, says an upbeat Camilo Gonsalves, assistant coach at Dempo.
Camilo, whose son Clifton plays as a striker in the same club where he spent a lifetime, takes pride in his son’s achievement but at the same time speaks like a typical Goan fan when he says, “Clifton jab tak Dempo mei khelega mei khush hu.”
A forward himself, Camilo started his career with Salgaocar in 1978 and then shifted base to Dempo in 1981 and stayed with them ever since. “Even if I am not playing, I am associated with my team as staff,” said Camilo who was promoted from Dempo’s junior side to assist Mauricio Afonso when he was appointed interim coach following Armando Colaco’s accident.
Camilo saw his elder brother Goabernad playing in the local league and that got him hooked to football. “I saw my brother playing, that was it, I wanted to be a footballer.”
On being asked if he ever wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, Camilo replied: “No, he was like a normal schoolgoer. I never forced him into football, it was only when I saw him playing in a local tournament that I felt he had the talent.”
Camilo spotted his traits in Clifton at the age of 12. “When I saw him play I knew he has got what it takes to become a footballer and from then on, I started training him.”
Clifton went on play for Dempo’s under-14 side and followed it up at the under-16 and under-18 levels until his big moment came in the Goa professional league when he played for the senior team.
The 20-year-old, who is a die-hard fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, has posters all over his stuff. Be it his bike, his room, his bathroom. “You can find Ronaldo and Manchester United all over his place,” says his father jokingly.
However, Clifton is a rather shy guy. It is difficult to make him sit and talk. “He lets his foot do the talking”, his father quips. He posed for the camera and then went off in no time.
His teammates are of the opinion that Clifton listens to his father carefully and tries to incorporate his father’s suggestion to his game.
“But the guy is shy, he only opens up when he is talking to his father and us, and keeps his aggression for the game,” they point out.