Mandar Rao Dessai is undoubtedly one of the best left-backs the ISL has ever seen. He has not only been rock solid at the back but has also scored some crucial goals for the Gaurs in their tough times. Mandar also wore the captain’s arm-band and had been a proper leader for them throughout every season he played. Mandar made a total of 97 appearances for the Gaurs and was loved by every Goan.
If reports are to be believed, then Mandar might be on his way to Mumbai to join his former coach, Sergio Lobera. If he does leave Goa, then Goa will need to find a player to replace him. It should be kept in mind that a player of Mandar’s calibre and aura will not be easy to find. For that very reason, Goa could have a tough time finding his successor. Here are 5 players who can be a replacement for him.
5. Sarineo Fernandes
Sarineo started his football career with local outfit Young Strikers of Benaulim in the GFA U-14 Division in 2013. After spending a season there, he joined Salgaocar FC and subsequently Sporting Clube de Goa. With them, Sarineo played in the GFA U-16 and U-17 Leagues and also played in the Bandodkar Gold Trophy with their U-21 side. The young player is physically very strong which helps him to dominate his opponent with ease. Sarineo is also blessed with technicality and has got a lovely turn of pace which makes him unbudgeable. His quality is much evident and surely his best years are yet to come.
4. Jovel Martins
Jovel Martins is a 27-year-old defender who began his professional career in Hero I-league with Sporting Clube de Goa. The defender spent three seasons with the club and made over 43 appearances. His experience came handy for FC Goa during the 2017-18 season of the Hero ISL. Jovel’s style of play is like that of a modern defender. He is very good with his passing and has good vision as well. Though he may not be a leader like Mandar, he is certainly an outstanding defender, who is at the peak of his game. He played for Churchill Brothers in the I-League 2019-20.
Lalruatthara made his I-league debut with Aizawl FC and served them for 2 years in which he made a total of 27 appearances. He was one of the best Indian left-backs in that particular season with his ability to read the game making him stand out from the rest. He joined Kerala Blasters where he managed to win The ISL Emerging Player Of The Season award in 2017-18. The 25-year-old is in his final year of the three-year extension he signed at the end of the 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) season. After winning the Emerging Player of the Year at the end of that season, he has struggled for first-team minutes due to a combination of injuries and poor form. He has also made 2 appearances for the senior national team and he carries a lot of experience with which he can surely help the Gaurs to win the silverware.