Last year, FC Goa‘s season got off to a rocky start as Juan Ferrando left the Gaurs after only a few games into the season. After then, Goa’s season never resurrected, and they ultimately finished ninth in the league table. However, they succeeded in appointing their former star Carlos Pena as their new manager after they made hiring a new head coach their first item of business in the summer. It remains to be seen whether Pena’s appointment will be a success or a disaster considering he has very little prior experience as a football manager. Additionally, Goa also revamped the foreign department by adding personnel across all three departments.
Goa’s developmental side participated in the Durand Cup with some first-team players like Muhammed Nemil, Hrithik Tiwari, Lesly Rebello, Phrangki Buam, Ayush Chhetri, and Lalremruata HP. The defending champions, however, where knocked out in the group stage itself.
After retiring from football in 2020, Pena started his journey to become a manager. He worked with the youth teams of Lorca and UCAM Murcia before taking over as the assistant manager of Lleida Esportiu. He returned back to work with youngsters, as he landed the manager job of Albacete Balompie’s youth team which competed in the Spanish Juvenil League. Pena fared admirably at Balompie before taking over the job as Goa’s head-coach.
In Pena’s own words, “I will try to make my team play the football I and the fans like. We will try to play attacking football. It’s the way I feel football.”
“I like my teams to be proactive, to go for the games. I don’t like teams that wait for how things happen.”
The only player who was able to stay on the FC Goa roster under Carlos Pena was Edu Bedia. Goa devoted the entire summer bolstering their foreign department, which hurt them last year. Pena’s options in defence will be Fares Aranout and Marc Valiente, both rookies in the Indian Super League. Alvaro Vazquez will receive assistance upfront from Igor Guarrotxena and Noah Sadaoui, with both occasionally filling in as the creator in the Goa side.
FC Goa’s only major domestic signings was Arshdeep Singh from Odisha FC and Ayush Chhetri from Aizawl. Arshdeep will provide Dheeraj Singh, who wasn’t in the best of sorts last season, some much-needed competition. Ayush, on the other hand, is a promising talent for Goa. The youthful player made a big impression while playing for both the senior and youth teams in Aizawl.
Top Three Signings
Alvaro Vazquez, Iker Guarrotxena, and Fares Arnaout.
FC Goa will benefit a lot from having a proven ISL forward like Alvaro Vazquez leading their attack. They are loaded with players in their foreign section that have plenty of experience. Fares Aranout and Noah Sadaoui are two players in particular to keep an eye on this season because they could surprise you with their performances. Additionally, they have a solid defense with a plethora of dependable players that Goa can rely on. Carlos Pena, being a former Gaur, will also be familiar with the league and be able to get along with the Indian players much better.
Carlos Pena’s appointment has a downside as well because the Spaniard is comparatively untested. After a challenging season, Goa will require consistency, and it is unclear at this time whether Pena is the best choice for the Gaurs. They will have a brand-new group of foreigners in addition to Edu Bedia, which could be a challenge for them once the season begins. Alvaro, Igor, and Noah’s additions strengthened their attack, but their wing alternatives are inadequate. One of Goa’s top priorities this summer ought to have been adding a reliable Indian alternative to the side but they ended up not doing so.
FC Goa’s 22-23 Possible XI
The success of FC Goa’s season will depend on how well Carlos Pena does during his first real assignment as first team manager and how their foreign acquisitions adjust to the league. Goa will also hope that their talismanic midfielder Brandon Fernandes stays injury free throughout the season. They will need their domestic attacking talent to flourish now more than ever as the upcoming season will be demanding and they will need to be at their best.
Follow our website for the latest updates on Indian Football