Mohammad Nawaz has turned out to be a household name for the FC Goa fans. The 20-year-old youngster has been a part of FC Goa since 2018 after having spent his youth career in the AIFF Elite Academy in from 2016 to 2017. Since then he has made 40 appearances for the Gaurs and is still the first goalkeeper for the club.
Recently IFTWC got an opportunity to interview Nawaz and here’s what the player had to tell about his club,
“FC Goa is the club that promoted me through the youth team. The coaches and management have shown a lot of faith in me. Starting every match for the club gives me a lot of confidence and pride. I have developed my game a lot since the U-17 WC days.”
On how the present situation is with the season and the worldwide football consortium affected with the pandemic, Nawaz said,
“The current circumstances are very strange and uncertain for everyone in the world. Being a professional footballer, we have to follow all the protocols that are in place for us to do our jobs safely. It is for the safety of our team-mates and staffs. We got very little time to prepare this time in the pre-season. However, I think until now our team has done quite well. Playing without fans is a very different experience and we hope they keep encouraging us from home.”
On how the team has performed till now and how is it to play under Juan after having spent two seasons under a very successful coach like Sergio Lobera, Nawaz said,
“We are a very close-knit unit and we performed very well in earlier games, too. So, the team was very happy to have finally reaped the rewards.
“Sergio had a very successful time with FC Goa, no doubt. And Juan is a young and energetic coach as well. Juan has a lot of ideas to achieve success with us. The team is looking solid defensively and, also, we are creating a lot of chances under him.”
Having had built an extremely good chemistry with the previous contingent and now the team having undergone a revamp, Nawaz said,
“Yes, many of the foreigners are new to India, but the recruitment by the club has been done very well and everyone is working well together, and all of them want to contribute to the team’s success. They have a fantastic attitude of winning things collectively and that is something that has been infectious.”
With Sergio Lobera and some of the key players of FC Goa having gone to Mumbai City FC, and having a newfound rivalry in the ISL, Nawaz said,
“Every team in the ISL can defeat every other teams on a given day. Mumbai is definitely a strong contender this season, and that’s why they are the favourite opponents for us and for many others as well.
“There is no personal rivalry with them. And in football, it always happens – coaches and players can change teams. We have put this behind us and are now building well under Juan.”
When asked about his personal goals for this season, he said,
“My goal is to always perform to the best of my abilities and take it one match at a time. Of course, last season was very exciting for us having won the ISL Shield. This time, we want to take it one step forward in the ISL and perform well in the AFC Champions League as well.”
In the end, Nawaz had a message for the fans,
“It’s a difficult time to be a football fan right now as the footballers are all closed in this bio-bubble. The ISL is taking a lot of digital initiatives to involve the fans in every match and my message for the fans of FC Goa is to be completely involved with the team and keep supporting us.”