Indian Super League 2017-18: FC Goa aim to win maiden championship
FC Goa start the Indian Super League 2017-18 season under new management and will hope that is enough to ensure they win their first titlefootball Updated: Nov 10, 2017 08:44 IST
After three seasons with Brazilian football great Zico at the helm, FC Goa are set to step into new waters under Spanish manager Sergio Lobera, who signed a two-year contract with the club earlier this year.
After being knocked out in the semi-finals via penalties in 2014, FC Goa had reached the final of the tournament in 2015, losing a dramatic title clash to Chennaiyin FC in the dying minutes.
However, last season the team finished bottom of the standings, with ownership of the franchise changing hands weeks before the start of the season.
This term, there has been more time at the club’s hands to prepare for the new campaign. Head coach Sergio Lobera will be buoyed by the presence of Derrick Pereira, one of the biggest names in Indian football coaching, in his coaching staff.
The Goan club spent Rs. 3.9 crore in the players’ draft. After roping in their foreign recruits, FC Goa possess a promising squad which could challenge for the play-off spots. The team will, however, face a litmus test towards the end of the regular season when they play their last four games in 11 days’ time.
They will begin their campaign away from home against Chennaiyin FC.
2014: Reached playoffs, lost to Atletico de Kolkata in penalties in semis.
2015: Lost to Chennaiyin FC in the final.
2016: Finished bottom of the league standings.
Sergio Lobera is a 40-year-old Spaniard who last coached Moroccan club Moghreb Tétouan. Lobera had previously managed Spanish club Las Palmas, whom he led to a sixth-place finish in the country’s second tier league in his first season, eventually being sacked by the club just before the end of his second season.
Lobera will have a reliable figure in his coaching staff in the form of Derrick Pereira, who had led Mahindra United to the National Football League (NFL) title in 2006 and had later turned Pune FC into one of the top I-League clubs.
3 players to watch out for:
Bruno Pinheiro: Portuguese midfielder Bruno Pinheiro was crucial to FC Goa’s campaign in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League in 2014, and will hope to have a similar impact in what will be a longer season this term. His ability to play in defence and midfield with equal ease should come in handy for his side.
Ferran Corominas: Former Espanyol forward Ferran Corominas will have the onus of bagging a few goals for his club this term. With compatriot Adrian Colunga expected to lead the line alongside him, Corominas will aim to use his experience in this campaign.
Adrian Colunga: Like Corominas, Adrian Colunga is an experienced Spanish forward. He has previously played for clubs in Spain, England and Cyprus before moving to India. Colunga’s form in front of goal could be key in determining the club’s fortunes this term.