FC Goa will enter unchartered territory on Wednesday when it becomes the first Indian club to play in the AFC Champions League. The Indian Super League side will take on Qatari side Al Rayyan at the Fatorda Stadium in its opening clash.
The Gaurs come into tournament a remarkable ISL campaign where the side lost in the semifinal, on penalties, to eventual champion Mumbai City FC.
Speaking ahead of the game against Al Rayyan, FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando said, “We are want to be competitive and strong – in terms of our mentality and psychology. However, in the end, the most important thing when you play football is to enjoy. This is the most important word in our team.
"If the players enjoy (themselves) on the pitch, we can get success. There will always be discussions about the technical and tactical parts. However, if the players are enjoying themselves on the pitch, it’s going to be very difficult to put our plans into actions. This is the same forever all the teams around of the world.”
The Spaniard added that this would be a learning experience and a massive opportunity to gain valuable exposure for his team. “It’s going to a huge task to play against these clubs and plates. However, for us, it’s very important to focus game by game,” he said.
“It is a time to learn but also to be competitive at the same time. For me, it is very important that everybody has a very clear mind that these games are great opportunities to make a mark for both the club and Indian football,” added Ferrando.
Captain Edu Bedia, who is in his fourth season at the club, said: “The games are going to be tough and the team we are going to be facing are going to be very hard (to beat). We are going to have moments that are difficult for us.”
He added, “So it’s to understand that during those moments you have to stay strong and continue to focus on the game because every minute of those 90 will be important and we need to be focused for the entire 90 minutes.
“The tough moments will come but it’s up to us to ensure that during those tough moments. we stay strong and you know get the best results possible throughout the entire tournament.”
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