FC Goa announced their 26-member Durand Cup squad on Wednesday, made up mostly of players from their youth squad. The task of guiding this young team into India’s oldest football tournament has been handed to Deggie Cardozo, the Gaur’s development team coach.
For Cardozo, being the defending champion invites no additional pressure. “I have already experienced the Durand Cup with ATK, so I know the system. You have to get the trophy. We have prepared well and all my players are looking forward to going to Kolkata and playing,” he said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
It’s about winning and also developing those players.
— Deggie Cardozo on FC Goa at the Durand Cup
Muhammed Nemil, one of the team’s four first-team players, was also part of the interaction. The 20-year-old, who broke through in the last edition of the Durand Cup by scoring four goals in six games, said: “I’m still the same person who played last time. Everyone has an equal role in the team and I’m happy to give my best.
For the Durand Cup, FC Goa is in Group A alongside Mohammedan Sporting, Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force.
When asked who he considered the biggest obstacle in the group, Cardozo declined to pick one. “We are currently focused only on our first game against Mohammedan Sporting, then the next one and learning from each other.”
READ ALSO | FC Goa announce 26-member squad for tournament
Cardozo also underlined the visibility that this tournament will offer to its young players. “It will be an opportunity for them to experience the football environment in Kolkata. It’s about winning and also developing these players.