Durand Cup 2021 Preview: A wired-to-win FC Goa looks to make an early-season mark

posted in Specials by FC Goa Official on 6th September 2021

posted in Specials

by FC Goa Official

on 6th September 2021

Durand Cup 2021 Preview: A wired-to-win FC Goa looks to make an early-season mark

FC Goa heads into one of India’s most historic tournaments with one aim – to rewrite the history books. The Gaurs are in a win-now mode and if anyone had a doubt on the same, a look at the squad should dissuade any onlookers. 

4 foreigners, 4 Indian internationals and 14 homegrown Goan talents highlight the squad heading for the historic tournament.

After leading the Gaurs to another record-breaking season in the ISL last season (first team to make the playoffs six times and the only one to do it four seasons in a row), Juan Ferrando takes a full-fledged team to the City of Joy in the hope of exactly that – the joy on the football pitch. 

On the domestic front, FC Goa is on a roll. After initial hiccups to the campaign, Ferrando saw his men strut their stuff in the second half of last season – ending the season 15 games unbeaten (and counting). This being another record in the Indian Super League. Now they look to carry that momentum to the new season.

With nearly a month-long pre-season under his belt, Juan Ferrando will look to lead his side to another title. In preparation for the same,  the Gaurs assembled for pre-season early last month.

“Last season was a bit difficult because we had a very short preseason due to the pandemic. This time around, we had the opportunity to work with the team more. The players really are really focused and keyed in,” said Ferrando in the Press Conference leading up to the Durand Cup.

“This is our intention. To get better each day. To prepare for the AFC Champions League as well as the Durand Cup.”

We want to win everything – Edu Bedia

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Skipper Edu Bedia heads into the Durand Cup entering his fifth season with the Gaurs, having signed for the Gaurs in the summer of 2017. He has seen the Gaurs develop through its fledgling years to become one of the consistently successful clubs in the country.

After tasting silverware with the Super Cup in 2019 and the ISL Shield in 2020, last season saw the midfielder take on the mantle of the captain’s armband. He led the side to yet another playoff appearance in the Indian Super League before helping the Gaurs to a third-place finish in the AFC Champions League group stage.

And now The Spaniard firmly believes that Goa are capable of winning every domestic tournament they participate in this coming season.

“All aspects of football has become better in the country. I am not only speaking about the technical and tactical aspects of the game but everything,” said Edu Bedia in the press conference. 

“At this moment, I believe we are one of the best teams in the country. This year we want to win all the trophies.”

Overcoming the challenges

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The preparations though have taken a hit upon arrival in Kolkata with the facilities not meeting what the FC Goa Head Coach aspired for. 

Speaking further in the press conference Juan Ferrando addressed the challenges that he sees coming the way of the team.

“Firstly, for us, it’s a pleasure to participate in the Durand Cup. It’s a historic tournament both in India and Asia,” opined Ferrando.

“I am aware that this is only September and it’s difficult to prepare all the training centres. But for us is to focus on our job. This is the time to see the young players, develop the team. We are trying to do our best and not make excuses.

“We have to put focus on the fact that the kickoff is at 3 pm and it’s really hot and humid, which makes it difficult for the players. But we are making our adjustments for the same.  

“The most important of the facilities is the training ground. If they are in good condition, it becomes easier for us to prepare the team.

“At this moment, the going is difficult. We are having to put attention to prevent injuries. At this moment we are trying to find solutions to these points. Our players are professional players and they need a good training facility. 

“It’s the opposite in the games. Yesterday I watched the game and the grass on the pitch is very good. That’s good for everyone because the teams can play good football and the supporters can enjoy the games.”

Up against the likes of Army Green (champions of 2016), Sudeva FC and Jamshedpur FC, the Gaurs will have their task cut out in the group stages. However, going by the pedigree of their past performances, one can consider FC Goa as firm favourites in Group B. 

The Durand Cup is no longer just a pre-season tournament for the Gaurs. This is where they will look to set the patterns right, make the right cutbacks and look to gel things together. 

FC Goa are wired to win. And the time is now!