“We won today, but that’s just it. It’s over. We got two more finals to go. We got Mumbai next. We go again. We win again,” an animated Hugo Boumous delivered a commanding speech in the group huddle at the end of the game against Hyderabad FC.
Leadership. Now that’s a term that is tough be quantified by a number. It’s only in fleeting moments that they take effect and leave an everlasting impression in your sub-conscience.
“It was not only his goals, but it was also the whole way he carried himself about the pitch, that’s what leadership is about,” states Clifford Miranda, the interim Head Coach of FC Goa. “He played with a chip on his shoulders and when you see that in someone, it gets reflected in the players around one.”
The Frenchman, had very little going his way last season. With Edu Bedia in conversations of being one of the best in the league, it was understandable why.
“Last season, I think that lit a fire under him. He has always been his biggest critic. He has kept working on himself, and look, how he has turned it around,” says skipper, Mandar Rao Dessai. “He is a constant reminder that if you work hard, you can achieve great things. And in doing so, inspire the people around you.”
The story this season for Boumous has so far been about consistency. No longer just a flash merchant, the Frenchman has done it all this season. He has found the back of the net time and again – tap ins, acrobatic strikes that can have damaging implications to your jaws, rampaging runs or give-and-goes that end with a precise finish – and FC Goa won, adding a new dimension to the persona.
And then there are these. 12 games, 8 goals, 6 assists. Stats don’t always tell you the whole story, but you can’t overlook the numbers.
Underneath the Street Fighter-esque goal celebrations, the languid touches and the backheels passes has germinated an individual whose abiding obsession is just to win football games.
He has grown a layer over himself, one can clearly see with the non-objective eye. His energy is infectious and his quality unquestionable. And now he seems to have taken over the mantle of being a leader