FC Goa ended their AFC Champions League outing as they went down 0-2 against Al Wahda FC. The Gaurs fielded 11 Indian players, and arguably this would be the only time that any Indian club competes at the Asian level devoid of it’s foreign contingent.
Assistant coach – Clifford Miranda who led the team in absence of coach Juan Ferrando addressed the media in the post match press conference. Here are some of the excerpts :
When asked about how difficult was it without the main set of players coach Clifford said, “It’s always difficult when you don’t have the players who are already playing for the past so many games, but the flipside for it, the positive side was that this provided an opportunity for the (Indian) players to perform.
“I am so happy and proud, the way the player played with their maximum efforts. Maybe with a little bit more detail here and there, we could have got a better result. But when you face one of the best teams in Asia who are levels above us, still the players gave a fantastic performance,” he added.
Clifford also opined about how difficult has the responsibility been all of a sudden when it was the least expected. “To be very honest, it’s nothing different. Because Juan (Ferrando) had a plan set ahead of us, even in the training sessions the boss had made a plan, and many times we both executed it on the pitch. It was the same for this game, we had a plan ready and I just had to execute it. But the difficult thing was that we had to play games every 2/3 days.”
FC Goa maintained a decent stature throughout the tournament. If they would have converted a couple of narrow misses then the picture might have been a lot different today. On asked whether the points table rightly summarizes the journey, Clifford said, “I am glad that people are noticing it. In the hindsight, when the draw was announced, who might have thought that FC Goa would finish third and with these many points!
“Especially in this group, we had runner-ups Persepolis alongside strong sides like Al Wahda and Al Rayyan, nobody gave us a chance. Again, all credit to the players and Juan for doing such a fantastic job despite of so many difficulties. Of course, we are playing in a bio bubble for the last seven months, but I must credit all the players, coach, and the club for making a mark in Asia’s premier tournament.”
“I am sure that the club will want to participate in such tournaments, year after year. This the only way we can improve Indian football and plan a trajectory for breaking into the top as we compete with some of the best teams in Asia. I think the ultimate aim of the club would be to be in this (AFC Champions League) tournament every year,” concluded the bossman for the day.