As the clubs get into the last stage of their preparations ahead of the new season, friendly engagements are but still hard to come by
The current edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), which will be played in a bio-bubble in Goa, will see quite a few changes as a result.
The teams’ pre-season preparations have also suffered as a result of the pandemic and as such, the usual practice of playing a lot of friendlies might not be a possibility.
So far there has been reportedly been only one friendly among the 11 ISL teams – that between Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC where Rahul KP scored a brace in a 2-0 win.
FC Goa began training with the majority of their Indian contingent, barring Ishan Pandita and Seiminlen Doungel, at the Ella Ground in Old Goa from the first week of October under the guidance of Clifford Miranda.
Pandita, Doungel and the overseas players in Jorge Ortiz, Igor Angulo, Ivan Gonzalez, Alberto Noguera and Edu Bedia eventually joined the squad with head coach Juan Ferrando after completing their mandatory quarantine. Now, only the club’s Asian recruit, James Donachie, is yet to join the group training as he was the latest to arrive the country.
Ferrando has taken close to half a dozen sessions with the team and they are set to play a pre-season friendly against Jamshedpur FC on November 1, likely to be held at Salvador do Mundo ground where the Gaurs are to shift their base to from Old Goa by the first week of November.
However, with the safety protocols due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, nothing seems like usual.
“We are deciding on a few friendlies but we need a few approvals before confirming them,” a club official told Goal about the pre-season proceedings as far playing against other teams is concerned.
It has not been like anything experienced before for Ferrando as well, as the gaffer has praised his side’s willingness to work through testing times.
“I have tried to follow a similar schedule when not in quarantine to keep myself motivated and get the work done efficiently. I have been designing tasks on the ground, managing the coaching staff and explaining how we will be working from this week (when the quarantine period ends). I have to say I am very proud of everyone’s willingness to help both Javi (Gonzalez, assistant and conditioning coach) and me,” he said after completing his quarantine period.
FC Goa enters the season in a bid to defend their ISL League Winners’ Shield. They will also get a chance to play in the AFC Champions League group stages.
Source: Goal Sports News