Panaji: Sporting Clube de Goa Keeper, who led Goa to Victory last year in the Santosh Trophy will lead a 20-member squad that will play for the ongoing Santosh Trophy to be held in Kolkata.
Goa, who won the title last year beating Bengal will leave Goa on July 27, where they will play their first quarter-finals league match against Karnataka on July 29 and second match against Punjab on July 31.
Goa’s coach Mariano Dias who has been retained as the coach for the second time is optimist that they will do well to retain the title inspite of 10 players selected from last year’s team missing on account of National duty and injuries.
“Our team is a mixture of youth and experience. I have faith in my boys who show lot of promise. I am confident that they will defend the title. We have lot of promising talent and I am happy the way things have gone so far,” Dias said.
“The only concern is the upfront in the absence of Joaquim Abranches who is out due to injury, where we lack sharpness in scoring goals. But we have Peter Carvalho who will be used as a makeshift striker to fill his shoes,” he said.
The first match against Karnataka is important and we must win to raise our confident and things will fall in line,” Dias said.
“We can win the tournament but everything depends on how well we perform as a team. It is not about an individual. It is collective effort,” Felix D’Souza, the captain of the team said.
The travelling and kitting of team will be taken care by ‘Kingfisher’, the sponsors of the Goa Professional Football League.
Kingfisher-UB group, Divisional Vice President, Govind Tiwari told reporters that “Santosh Trophy is one of the most popular football championships in the country, and they are proud to be associated with the Goan football team.”
“We wish them all the very best and are confident that the team will make us all proud by bringing the trophy back home again,” he said.
Savio Messias, GFA Secretary said the Santosh Trophy is a tournament very sentimental and dear to the Goan fans.
“This time we are missing experience players who are doing National duty in Portugal. We have a young and talented side who are eager to prove their best to retain the title which we have won four times earlier,” Messias said.
The team is led by Felix D’Souza. Other players are Laxmikant Kattimani, Mathew Gonsalves, Rowilson Rodrigues, Covan Lawrence, Fulgencio Cardozo, Adil Khan, John Dias, Denzil Franco, Godwin Franco, Savio Carneiro, Joseph Pereira, Wilton Gomes, Nicolau Borges, Nicholas Rodrigues, Clifton Gonsalves, Milagres Gonsalves, Branco Cardozo, Peter Carvalho, Cavin Lobo.
Mariano Dias (coach), Lawrence Gomes (Team Manager), Akash Chopra (team Physio).