The 2020/21 season has begun. FC Goa has started preparations for the upcoming season which will see the Gaurs defending their ISL League Winners’ Shield in addition to representing India in the AFC Champions League.
The team, under the watchful eyes of Assistant Coach Clifford Miranda, have begun pre-season with the majority of the Indian contingent. Only Ishan Pandita and Len Doungel, who are currently undergoing their quarantine period as per the League protocols are yet to join.
The first few days saw the players going through their paces, with the focus being on regaining their fitness after a long off-season owing to the current pandemic. Since Saturday, the team has been doing double sessions both at the training ground and the gym to work on their physical attributes, core and sharpness along with on the ball drills.
A midfield mainstay, Lenny Rodrigues sounded ecstatic on his return to the ground with his fellow Gaurs. “This has been a long and unusual off-season for us all. It’s been tough for us all. Now to get back on to the ground and start doing the things that we love, I am thrilled,” stated the man who many call Mr Goa.
“This preseason will be crucial like every other. But the circumstances through which we have gone through and to come this far, this feels like an achievement. I would like to thank all the frontline workers for what they have done these past few months. We are here today because of their efforts.
“It’s unusual this season because we are used to seeing fans throng the ground for our first practice session of the season. For now, I would like to tell them that we know that you have us in your hearts and we yearn as much as you to do this together. However, for now, we need to maintain protocol so that we come out safe from this pandemic which is still out there and deadly as ever. Keep cheering for us.”
The initial days of the camp will see the Gaurs practice at the Ella Ground in Old Goa before switching to the club’s very own practice facility in Salvador do Mundo.
The team is regularly in contact with head coach Juan Ferrando and the coaching staff for session plans, updates and feedback. The Club is also actively working on the transport and logistics for the international contingent and hopes to have the entire squad at the earliest.