Margao: Brazilian flair will be on display in all its glory as World Cup winner Roberto Carlos’ Delhi Dynamos lock horns with FC Goa, coached by the legendary Zico, in the second edition of Indian Super League (ISL) football here. Playing at home, FC Goa are seeking to make a positive start at the Nehru Stadium.
After a poor start last year, FC Goa rose gradually to reach the semi-finals where they lost to eventual winners Atletico de Kolkata in a penalty shootout. Unlike last edition when coach Zico did not have the choice to select the players, this time he has taken personal interest in selecting the players, especially the foreigners.
Leading the FC Goa challenge will be former Brazil captain and 2002 World Cup winner Lucio. The Brazilian won almost everything in the world of football, including a treble at Inter Milan, and is now looking forward to a new challenge in the ISL. The marquee player for FC Goa will lend solidity at the back and is expected to partner French defender Gregory Arnolin, the lone surviving foreign player from last year’s squad.
Elinton Andrade recently won the Beach Soccer World Cup with Portugal and will be the first-choice goalkeeper besides Lucio, Brazilian players such as Leo Moura, who captained Flamengo for a long time, young Jonatan Lucca, Victor Simoes and Reinaldo.
Zico, whose contract runs until 2017 as FC Goa manager, is satisfied with the pre-season training in Dubai, where they played four friendly matches, losing only their last match. Back home they played against Dempo and won 3-1.
But for Zico friendly does not matter much. “It is important that the players give their best during the tournament and I am expecting the same tomorrow from the boys and looking for a positive start. We have injury worries and even with Pronay Halder and Narayan Das not available due to international duties, the best XI will play tomorrow and I am optimistic that the players will give their best to win three points,” stated Zico.
Delhi Dynamos will be looking upto their marquee manager-cum-player Carlos for a winning start. They have Liverpool legend John Arne Riise, UEFA Champions League winner Florent Malouda and young Adil Nabi from Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.
They have problem in the goal as all three custodians have injury problems and Carlos will decide tomorrow whom to play in that position. For Delhi Dynamos Carlos said it’s going to be an emotional battle and is expecting a tough fight. “The legendary player was not just my coach at Fenerbahche in Turkey but also a father figure to me. This match is just not a clash between a student and a teacher but also a father and son,” Carlos stated.
“We know FC Goa will be very tough. This will be a clash of two teams who are equally determined to win the ISL title. I can promise everyone that this will be an entertaining match,” said Carlos.