After a successful run under Sergio Lobera, FC Goa enters the 2020-21 season under a new head coach in Juan Ferrando. A consistent unit with two runner-up finishes, FC Goa will look to go one better and clinch a maiden Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) trophy.
The FC Goa squad has a strong Spanish presence, with Ferrando bringing in four of his countrymen – Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, Alberto Noguera and Ivan Gonzalez. This will make it easier for Ferrando to get into the groove quickly as he is quite familiar with what the new signings bring to the table.
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A good number of Goan players – including the likes of Seriton Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues and Brandon Fernandes – ensure that the emotional connection with local fans is strong.
The side lost many of its key players to transfers. The departure of striker Ferran Corominas, a standout performer last season with 14 goals, comes as the biggest blow.
Hugo Boumous, not far behind Corominas with 11 goals, has moved to Mumbai City FC. Like Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, who was a key presence in the midfield, followed Lobera to Mumbai City FC. Ferrando will surely miss these quality, proven performers.
Ferrando has an unenviable task, having taken over from a successful coach in Lobera. To make matters more tricky, a shortened pre-season and quarantine restrictions mean that Ferrando did not have much time to get familiar with his players.
At 39, he is a young coach, but is backed by over a decade of coaching experience. Ferrando’s biggest challenge will be to quickly win the confidence of his players and get a few positive results early in the tournament to set the right tone in the dressing room.
Edu Bedia takes over leadership duties from Mandar Rao, who signed for Mumbai City FC. The experienced Bedia, who featured in La Liga for five seasons with Racing Santander, has played a pivotal role for FC Goa since joining in 2017.
The midfielder will become the club’s longest-serving foreign player as he enters his fourth season.
In 2017-18 and 2018-19, only Jahouh surpassed Bedia in the number of completed passes for FC Goa. FC Goa has also named a “leadership team” consisting of Bedia, Rodrigues, Seriton and Gonzalez.
With five new foreign players – the four from Spain and Australian defender James Donachie – joining Bedia, FC Goa has a strong foreign presence. Donachie, a strong, tall centre-back, was signed to fulfil the AFC player criteria. Bedia remains the only surviving foreign player from the previous season.
Best new signing
Angulo has big shoes to fill, having been named as a replacement for Corominas, the ISL’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Angulo, 36, is a quality player himself and has achieved considerable success with Polish club Gornik Zabrze, scoring and assisting more than 100 goals in his four seasons there (2016-20). The experienced striker finished the 2018-19 season as the top Ekstraklasa (Poland’s top league) goal-scorer with 24.
Best possible formation
During his reign, Lobera used the 4-2-3-1 to good effect. With like-for-like replacements joining the core of the old team, Ferrando is likely to stick to the same formation.
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