Brandon Fernandes: The quarterback on the wings

posted in Specials by FC Goa Official on 29th January 2020

posted in Specials

by FC Goa Official

on 29th January 2020

Brandon Fernandes: The quarterback on the wings

And he did his thing again. He found himself in space and with time to spare. He then looked up and surveyed the field, just like a quarterback in an American football game before delivering the blow. 

In football, though, there are too many moving parts. The main stats (goals and assists) might not have captured his essential contribution, but the advanced stats certainly didn’t miss out – why else would you call them advanced. 

The counter in the ‘chances created’ column just took an upswing.

If you are staring with eyes glaring wide at what has so far been penned down, I urge you to revisit FC Goa’s last game against Kerala. The build-up to the first goal of the game tells you a lot about the kind of influence Brandon Fernandes can have on a game of football. 

A winger on the team sheet, the man from Benaulim cuts in time and again to provide ammunition in the middle of the pitch whilst affording the electric Mandar Rao Dessai ample space to run into. A simple and yet effective cog in the whole FC Goa system. It’s subtle, repeated and yet, all the more omnipotent.

Brandon Fernandes, indispensably subtle and incredibly astute. 

The Indian international has come alive over the last two years in the Indian Super League – becoming one of the stalwarts in the FC Goa team. 

Time, space and Brandon

It’s a hard thing to pin down – the concept of time and space. Space-time, some say.  A hybrid that is so hideous whose very hyphen looks phoney.

No, that’s not what we are going to talk about here, but the mention of the same is important to further elaborate upon the man in the  Orange jersey with no. 10 adorning the back.

Time and space have truly been a thing of intrigue for human beings. Einstein was deeply fascinated by them, couples looking to have both at the same time and on the footballing pitch, a player who can find them out is truly worth his/her weight in gold.

Time is truly relative. No, there is no complex mathematical formulas that you need to hound to find the truth about it. A look at Brandon plying his trade on the left of the FC Goa’s attack can truly give you a sense about that. 

“He has matured a lot in the last few years,” opines Mandar Rao Dessai, the man who soldiers the load on the left side alongside Brandon for FC Goa.  

A yard in the head has always been two in the feet. And no one shows that better than Brandon. Having developed himself into a talented playmaker, he has certainly brushed off any threat of anachronism about his time on the pitch with his play. 

“He has qualities that are vital to how we want to play,” says Edu Bedia. “Over the three seasons that I have seen him play, he has been able to round a lot of the rough edges and moulded himself into a valuable player. It’s like having a sixth foreigner on the side.”

The process of coming into his own had truly started last season, culminating in the winner in the final of the Super Cup where he once again showed that he was not limited to only one trade. A burst of pace coupled with technical soundness and the ability to come up big in crucial moments helped him secure the Gaurs, their first title and himself a place in the history books of the club. 

And now, as he is at the fag end of his third season with the Gaurs, he has truly turned himself into a complete package – honing in that quarterback role on the left-wing. Not to be stifled by man-marking, he has shown that he can break out of situations using intricate passing, quick turns, a mazy dribble or a sudden burst of speed when required. 

“He lends balance to the team,” reminds Carlos Pena. “The team is about finding balance and him, with his abilities, he does exactly that. Whilst Jacki(chand Singh) helps in stretching the game, Hugo (Boumous) brings dynamism with his ability to run with the ball, Brandon has a special quality in being able to be able to fit any role you want him to. 

“He played in the centre in the first two games and excelled in it. It takes talent to do that.”

The 25-year-old is no longer wet behind his ears. He still walks with the same swagger, but the fleet-footed man no longer just looks to run at the man and take him at will, he has the ability to bring calmness to the proceedings with his ability to find pockets of spaces in the attacking third before finding time to spark the organised chaos.

Overcoming his inconsistencies, the forward has shunned any notion of him being a ‘luxury player’. Every game is an occasion for Sergio Lobera to strut out his jewels on the field to see and Brandon Fernandes is one of the shiniest of them all. 

Indian with the highest number of assists, Brandon has truly transformed and blossomed into the player many thought he could become since first coming onto the scene in the I-League. 

He is leading the assists column in a team that boasts of talents like Coro, Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous – a quintet that can be considered by one as one of the most important players in the team. 

The FC Goa team shines because of individual talents coming together to play as one – offering themselves up to help find time and space for the other man. It affords space to everyone to come forth to deliver and in time, Brandon has done that time and again.