European journeyman is in awe of Goa, wants to see the Taj

FC Goa players Gregory Arnolin, Miguel Herlein, Younness Bengelloun and Bruno Pinheiro enjoy a day off from training at the Spice Farm

Panaji: He’s traveled the expanse of Europe plying his ware, football. Just warming up to the weather in Goa, his teammates and his coach, the legendary Zico, FC goa defender Youness Bengelloun (31) has one item on his checklist as far as his India stint goes.

“I would love to go and see the Taj Mahal someday soon, after the league. India is a big country and I hope to see more of it,” Bengelloun says.

For now, when he is not being put through the practice drills, physio and workouts at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, where team FC Goa trains, Bengelloun is content with Goan hospitality and showering from an elephant’s trunk!

“Goa is a beautiful place and I appreciate every moment here. We had the day off last week and I visited a spice farm with some of the team mates. It was wonderful. We had an elephant ride and a shower with the elephant. I absolutely feel in love with the beautiful animal. Coming from Paris, I’ve never been able to appreciate and enjoy nature like I’m doing in Goa. On my days off I’d like to see a little more of this beautiful state of Goa. I love discovering new places and would love to visit some more places if I can,” said Bengelloun thrilled at his off-day outing.

Bengelloun is a product of the academy run by popular French club Paris Saint-Germain, from where he played in various clubs across Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, along with his native country France.
The last club he played for, Mulhouse, was home to Arsene Wenger and Raymond Domenech as players.

Speaking about his current FC Goa stint, Bengelloun said: “It’s been a great experience so far. The players are excellent and we have gelled together well. I’m surprised by the footballing talent here in Goa and India. The field is good and the training has been coming along well. Everything has been fantastic. I feel wonderful to be part of FC Goa.”

About Zico, the clubs marquee coach, Bengelloun claimed it’s an “absolute pleasure” working with the Brazilian legend, who conducts practice sessions twice everyday.

“He’s been an amazing player himself. And he’s an excellent coach, having coached teams across the country. He has tremendous experience and we are lucky to be training under a coach of his stature. The week is busy with training and we are gearing up for the league matches” said Bengelloun, at the end of yet another grueling training session.

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