Panaji: The non-participation of Brazil and Portugal football teams in the Goa Lusofonia Games commencing Saturday, may rob the glory of the game but not its spirit, said Olympian football player Fortunato Franco.
Franco, who holds the honour of being the only surviving Goan to have represented India at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome said the other football teams are equally good.
"We should not get disappointed because we won`t be able to see the likes of Messi or Ronaldo play here," said Franco in an exclusive interview to a leading agency after lighting the relay torch for Lusofonia games.
"The second tier teams are equally good," said the footballer who played right mid-field for Indian team in Rome Olympics.
"There may not be glamour but spirit of the game remains," said the footballer who was also part of the team that won Asian championship in 1962.
"Don`t worry about who has not come. What we aim is at good performance," he added.
Franco will cheer for the Indian football team at the Lusofonia Games here.
"I am sure Goa (India) will perform well," he commented.
Donning blue jersey of then Indian football team of 1960 Olympics, Franco said that there has been a sea change in the game since 60s.
"Basic ingredients of the game (football) are same. But there is change in the system," he said pointing out that during those years the footballers never used to juggle the ball the way Ronaldo does it.
"These guys are great show-makers and great players. That`s the beauty of it," he commented.
The veteran footballer said that the player should not let media (reports or reviews) affect his game.
"When we played Asian games finals at Jakarta against South Korea the entire crowd of 1.6 lakh were against us. They booed us but we played the best game," Franco said recalling India`s historic win at the event.