FC Goa, on Wednesday, announced its 26-member squad for the Durand Cup, mainly consisting of players from its youth side. The duty of guiding this young side in India’s oldest football tournament was entrusted to Deggie Cardozo, the coach of the Gaur’s developmental side.
For Cardozo, being the defending champion doesn’t invite any added pressure. “I have already experienced the Durand Cup with ATK, so I know the system. We need to get the trophy back. We have prepared well and all my players are eager to get to Calcutta and perform,” he said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
It is about winning and also about the development of these players.
— Deggie Cardozo on FC Goa at the Durand Cup
Muhammed Nemil, one of the four first-team players in the squad, was also part of the interaction. The 20-year-old, who broke through in the last edition of the Durand Cup scoring four goals in six games, said “I am still the same person who played last time out. Everyone has an equal role in the team and I am happy to contribute 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 about who he considers the biggest obstacle in the group, Cardozo refused to pick one. “Our focus right now is only on our first match against Mohammedan Sporting and then on to the next one and learning from each one.”
Cardozo also emphasised the exposure this tournament will provide for his young players. “This will be an opportunity for them to experience the football environment in Calcutta. It is about winning and also about the development of these players.”