Goa aiming to break the jinx and lift their first Indian Super League title

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Goa’s new kit for ISL 2020-21

Goa’s footballing model is arguably the best in the country currently, and more clubs should take a leaf out of their book. They have a successful team and a fantastic manager, but what sets the club apart is their exemplary scouting network. 

The Gaurs have done it all in their short journey thus far, apart from winning the Indian Super League. One could consider them unlucky, as the boys in orange have reached the ISL final twice, but returned empty-handed on both occasions. 

A look at last season’s performance

After the departure of Sergio Lobera, Goa brought in another young Spanish tactician in Juan Ferrando. The 40-year-old was an instant hit among the Gaurs as the style of play won the hearts of the fans in a heartbeat. Goa ended the season with a fourth-place finish, a defeat on penalties in the ISL semi-final, and also impressed everyone with heroics in the AFC Champions League.

In the buildup to the current season, Ferrando’s boys lifted the Durand Cup by beating Mohammedan Sporting Club in the final. The Gaurs were the deserving champions as they showed great zeal and commitment to win the prestigious tournament. 

New Signings ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season

Airam Cabrera will replace Igor Angulo upfront

Goa has mostly managed to hold on to their strong core for the upcoming season. Besides that, they have added some youngsters and two foreigners to bolster their ranks. Former NorthEast United defender Dylan Fox has joined the club and will be looking to continue his exceptional run of form from last season.

The second foreign acquisition, Airam Cabrera is all set to replace Igor Angulo upfront. The Spaniard is likely to spearhead the Gaurs’ attacking line this season and will hope to continue the legacy left behind by his predecessors in Coro and Angulo.

Among domestic signings, Goa has snapped up a lot of youngsters, including former Kerala Blasters player Nongdamba Naorem. The young winger will look to redeem himself after spending an entire season on the treatment table in 2020-21. 

Also read: ATK Mohun Bagan looking to win their maiden ISL title as well 

Local talents like Delton Colaco, Danston Fernandes, Brison Fernandes, and Christy Davis might not get enough game-time, but by rubbing shoulders with Indian and overseas stalwarts, they can better their game. 

Ferrando has also signed the Kerala-born youngster Muhammed Nemil. The striker already has garnered fame with his exceptional performance in the Durand Cup and will hope to continue that form in the ISL. Lastly, Delhi defender Anwar Ali has also joined the club, but he will officially become a Goa player only in January next year when the winter transfer window is open for business.

Predicted Starting Lineup

Dheeraj Singh; Seriton Fernandes, Ivan Gonzalez, Aiban Dohling, Saviour Gama; Princeton Rebello, Glan Martins; Jorge Ortiz, Alberto Noguera, Brandon Fernandes; Airam Cabrera. 


A strong core and continuity have been Goa’s success mantra in Indian football. They are consistently making progress every season, and getting their hands on the coveted trophy only seems to be a matter of time.

The Gaurs have always been a passionate bunch since the club’s inception but head coach Ferrando has brought in technical prowess which has helped the Indian players to improve their game.

Speaking about their squad, Goa possesses depth in all departments but their depth in midfield is exceptional. With finesse players like Alberto Noguera, Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes and work-horses like Glan Martins and Princeton Rebello, Goa probably has the best midfield in the league.


The team chemistry and balance of the Gaurs makes it very difficult to find weaknesses in the Goan outfit. 

On close inspection, it can be said that their defence is probably the only chink in their armour. Whilst Ivan Gonzalez and Seriton Fernandes are the leaders of the Goa backline, Ferrando has a puzzle to solve in finding Gonzalez’s partner in the centre of the defense. The Spaniard might have to choose between Aiban Dohling, Mohammed Ali, and Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte.

Ferrando’s other option is to play Dylan Fox but playing the former NorthEast United defender will break the combination of Ortiz and Cabrera upfront, whereas opting for inexperienced Indian defenders could be a risky affair. It will be interesting to see how the Spaniard tackles this issue heading into the new season.

Season Predictions

Goa has come close to lifting the title many times but have never managed to get their hands on the trophy to date and their main aim will be to win the trophy this season. 

Ferrando has the technical know-how and the roster to become the Gaurs’ first ISL-winning manager and the Durand Cup triumph earlier this year has only added fuel to the fire.