Rowilson Rodrigues living his dream in ISL

Rowilson Rodrigues at a training session

Panaji October 2014: From training under Brazilian maestro Zico to rubbing shoulders with Arsenal stars Robert Pires and Andre Santos, FC Goa’s Rowilson Rodrigues is living his dream.

The Dempo Sports Club defender is also thankful for the exposure which the Indian Super League has given Indian players, which he says will help improve their game and give a fillip to football in India in the long run. “It’s a great opportunity to be trained by Zico because he has played at the top level and he has good experience in the sport. To have a coach of his caliber, train us is a privilege for us all,” Rodrigues says.

Zico, the 27-year-old footballer says put them through a tough grind where along with playing skills, the Brazilian master also drills in the importance of support play, where a squad learns to play as one.
“Under his guidance, we have learnt how to support the team and play as one unit, how to overlap and keep the ball without pressure,” he further says.

And the nurturing at FC Goa stretches from the pitch to the dining room too. “I don’t drink. I prefer juice and water and I take herbal protein shakes. I eat green leafy vegetables and avoid oily food. Every player in FC Goa was prescribed a diet by a professional,” explains Rodrigues.

Speaking about his fitness regime, Rodrigues says that he starts with pre-hub exercises before training, followed by some slow jogging and stretching, before the drills begin.

And how does Rodrigues feel playing with Pires, a player he tracked and followed as a youngster? “Every player has the desire to play with established players and I feel really proud to be able to share the pitch with Robert Pires. He is one of the top level players but he is also a very good person. I was always a big supporter of Pires and would follow Arsenal religiously. Now, to see him in front of me, have him in our team and play alongside him feels very good.”

The ISL he says provides just this kind of exposure to every player participating in the league. “This is the first time that a tournament of this kind has been organized and ISL is thus giving us an opportunity to play alongside and against the best players from around the world. We get to learn many things from this experience and even improve our game in the process,” he says.

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