ISL 2018-19: I want to bring the ISL trophy to Goa, says Lenny Rodrigues

Midfielder Lenny Rodrigues played for Bengaluru FC last season and this time, he will be featuring in the ISL final for FC Goa.

Lenny Rodrigues hopes FC Goa will put in a collective effort in Sunday's final against his former club, Bengaluru FC.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Midfielder Lenny Rodrigues played for Bengaluru FC last season and this time, he will be featuring in the ISL final for FC Goa.

Rodrigues is looking forward to his second ISL final, and the well-travelled footballer talks about how coaches Alberto Roca and Sergio Lobera have helped in developing his game. He also recommends that Goan footballers should seek opportunities outside the state.

Excerpts from a chat…

Looking ahead to the final against your former team, what can the FC Goa fans expect from you?

I don’t want to say anything more about BFC, except that they are a good side with talented payers. I just hope to give my best in every match for Goa and hope the club fans keep faith in me.

You are familiar with the BFC set-up. What has been your best performance for the blues so far?

The AFC Cup semi-final against a North Korean side (April 25 Sports Club) was my best for BFC. Roca was coach. I scored a goal, we won 3-0 at home (Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru) and I remember the moment always.

Having played for different clubs under different coaches (Pune FC, FC Pune City, Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC), is there any particular coach who brought out the best in your game, apart from Sergio Lobera?

Alberto Roca at Bengaluru FC follows the same philosophy as (Sergio) Lobera and I enjoyed playing there. In FC Goa, Lobera is the main man and his backing for me, faith in me are the reasons I am able to deliver for the team. Lobera motivated me from pre-season onwards till now and it keeps me going.

Read: Lobera keen to settle scores with old friend

The Goan clubs have won the Federation Cup, I-League, but the ISL title has always eluded FC Goa. What are your thoughts this time around?

I hope a collective effort from my team-mates happens in the final. I just want to win somehow and bring the ISL trophy to Goa.

Goan footballers were supposed to be reluctant to leave Salgaocar, Dempo, Churchill Brothers for a contract outside the state. What made you try a different route away from home and take risks?

I believe football is a short-term career, so never think about the past and focus on the future. Playing professionally outside (Goa) is good for all the players, I urge Goan players to compete outside the state so that they have name, fame and everything associated with it. I gave my best in different clubs.

After playing every game for FC Goa this season, have you kept a count of the miles covered on the pitch?

No, not yet. I don’t want to keep counting miles. Running long distances is in my blood, as a youngster I used to go for school runs and road races. When I was playing for Churchill Brothers, we had four training sessions a day, guess it helped.  In my mind, the only thought is to get fitter each day, take proper rest so that my body can handle it (workload).