Margao: Young Goan football talent Brandon Fernandes has been given clearance to play for Sporting Clube de Goa, more than four months after joining training of the side since September.
The International transfer certificate for Brandon came a few days back and the club has now completed the registration with the All India Football Federation on Saturday.
It was last year that Brandon scored to help Goa-India to record a thrilling 3-2 victory over Mozambique and clinch the Lusofonia football gold medal. It was a proud moment for the whole of Goa.
For someone who made his debut in the Goa Football Association age group league at the age of nine, the last one year has been very unusual for Brandon as he has not played a single professional match, after frustratingly waiting for international clearance from South Africa.
Brandon's career started at a very young age when he played for the youth teams of Fransa and Velsao Pale, before making the move to Salgaocar where he started to gain a reputation as a promising talent. He represented Goa and later India at nearly all the age categories from 13 to 19.
In 2008, when Manchester United ran a skills competition in Goa, Brandon finished on top of the pile which saw him travel to the 'Theatre of Dreams' at Old Trafford in England where he stormed into the top 10 in the skills category amongst a host of players from top nations.
Brandon came back to Goa and continued to make headlines through his exploits on the field with the club and country, also scooping accolades and recognition as a young sportsman by winning BIG FM and Geno awards. In 2010 his talent caught the attention of the ASD Academy, Cape Town in South Africa.
It was not easy leaving his friends and family behind, but his rather ambitious nature encouraged him to pack his bags and follow his heart. During his stint in South Africa, he would come back to represent the national team. He eventually played for Salt Water Blackpool in the South African second division.
His sparkling performances allowed him to travel to
Europe and have trials with the likes of Leicester City, Reading and Sunderland in England and also St Mirren in Scotland from where he had to come home after sustaining an injury. Although he could not bag the elusive contract in Europe, Brandon believes his experience to date has given him the perfect grounding.
"Having played with foreign players in the academy and on trial, my confidence with the ball has improved. We were shown how to keep the tempo high when attacking which came from lots of repetition in practice," said Brandon.
Brandon's childhood idol remains Cristiano Ronaldo, but he now models his game around Spanish attacking midfielder Isco. He is just as hungry today as when he first kicked a ball and believes despite having a head start over his peers he has a little groundwork to catch up having watched from the stands for the past year.
"I want to thank the Sporting Clube de Goa President Peter Vaz and the Flaming Oranje for giving me this opportunity to reignite my career," he said.
His short term goals are to create assists and score goals for Sporting Goa and play his part in helping the team win major silverware. Thinking long term he wants to break into the senior national team and eventually fulfill his dream of playing abroad," he added.
"Brandon is a bright young Goan talent, we had no hesitation in signing him and believe if he can keep his head down and stay motivated he can carve out a long and illustrious career in the game," said Sporting Clube de Goa President Peter Vaz.