FC Goa is all set to participate in the AFC Champions League. The club had announced its 28-man squad for the tournament last week and they will aim to give their best in their first match on Wednesday. The Gaurs are in Group E (West Region) where the team will face clubs like Persepolis FC (Iran), Al Rayyan SC (Qatar), and Al Wahda (United Arab Emirates).
According to AFC rules, there could be only four overseas players, out of which one should be from an AFC-affiliated country and thus the Australian defender James Donachie filled that criteria. Apart from Donachie, captain Edu Bedia, Jorge Ortiz and Ivan Gonzalez are the other three foreign players for FC Goa.
Consequently, the team will miss on the services of Hero ISL 2020-21 Golden Boot winner Igor Angulo, who had scored 14 goals for the club in the seventh season. The team’s head coach Juan Ferrando admitted that it was difficult to select the squad and he had to make some tough decisions.
Juan Ferrando said while talking to fcgoa.com, “Obviously, it has been a difficult process and needed me to make some very tough decisions. At FC Goa we have good footballers – both on a professional as well as personal level. All of them have been working really hard and doing their best for the team. Regarding the selection of foreign players from the ones I had to select from, I have nothing but praise for Ivan (Gonzalez), Igor (Angulo), Edu (Bedia), Jorge (Ortiz), and Alberto (Noguera).
“I thank them for the good work and all their efforts over the last [few] months, not only [for their display] on the pitch but also [for their] helping everyone and have to highlight their commitment to helping the team improve every day,” said the 40-year-old.
Ferrando was able to get the best out of his players and did a fine job as the chief coach in his maiden season. The Gaurs finished in fourth place in the league stage after seven wins from 20 games and thus qualified for the semi-finals.
However, their journey was ended by eventual winners Mumbai City FC as they lost 6-5 on penalties. Ferrando believes his team still had a lot of room for improvement and they will keep giving their best.
The Spaniard said: “I always try to help the players improve with each passing day. And despite a great campaign in the Hero ISL, I am aware that the team still has a lot of room for improvement. Our goals are still far. My mindset is not to think about what we have done so far but always to think of what is left to do to get closer to our goals.”