FC Goa pre-match press conference addressed by Coach Zico and player Mandar Rao Desai

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Will there be any changes since the last game?

Zico: Well, there may be

Any injured players. Is Youness injured ?

Zico: Not Youness. Gregory’s knee is injured a bit, but he’s okay.

The team is playing well, but is lacking in their finish. Ladyluck not in your favor?

Zico:No. I don’t believe in luck. Maybe we are making the wrong choices when it comes to scoring goals. We are not paying attention to some of the things we work on during trainings.  We have to practice well so that we can do what we are supposed to on when we get onto the field for a match. During practice sessions I try and bring every inch of my experience to show the players what to expect, what can happen, what to avoid so that the team can focus on what they have learnt during training sessions. But we have to carry on. We have to believe in ourselves. We have to be brave and be perseverant. The road is long. As long as there is life we have to survive. We are breathing.

ISL is a short competition. Is there time to share your philosophy with the team or do you have to stick to sharing some basic principles?

Zico:I didn’t choose the players. So we need to understand the personality and skills of players and do our best within their capacity. We have so many players in the same position and not many in other positions. But we need to adapt and do the best we can in the circumstances.  We have to adapt to the characteristics and skills of the players we have onboard. For example; we don’t have players on the sides, wingers, who can mark well. The players I have are fast and skillful, but I can’t change their strengths overnight and ask them to mark players.

Mandar, Goan players have been playing well across teams. What’s lacking in the home team despite home support?

Mandar:We are trying hard and playing well, but we haven’t been able to score many goals. But we have been training well and look forward to tomorrow’s game

The team have mostly conceded goals on counter attack. Are you working on this aspect?

Zico: Yes. We are working on it not happening again. But when the other team scores first, we have to move forward to attack. Our defense is then open and that’s when we have the counter attacks.

How does it feel living in a country where football is not the number one sport, which is the case in Brazil.

Zico:I hope that will be the case in India one day. It reminds me of the time I spent in Japan. Football was not the 1st or even the 2nd most popular sport. Maybe it was the 7th. But now in Japan, football and baseball are fighting for the first place. And we are here to change the  situation in India.

But we don’t need to compare between cricket and football. Indian has a population of over 1 billion people. There is place for all sports and for sure there is space for football. I would like to see sports like volleyball, basketball, swimming, athletics and other sports because sports is good for people. In Brazil, US, Japan and some other countries, there are many sports being played and I hope that will be the case in India as well. Sports is good for the country.

Do you see potential in India to be a footballing nation in the future?

Zico: If we can change some mindsets, maybe we can see it someday. We need to mainly make changes in the diet of sportsmen and in the grassroots/youth development programmes. An athlete needs to maintain a proper diet. I say this not in the context of the culture of the country. But we need to encourage players and athletes to follow a specific diet which is catered to their specific needs.


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