Panaji: Ahead of FC Goa’s big-ticket AFC Champions League (Group E) clash against Qatar club Al Rayyan on Wednesday, the Indian Super League (ISL) club’s head coach, Spaniard Juan Ferrando, said he had to take some very “tough selection decisions” to put the best players on the field.
“It has been a difficult process and needed me to make some very tough decisions. At FC Goa, we have good footballers. All of them have been doing their best for the team. Regarding the selection of foreign players from the ones I had to select from, I have praise for Ivan (Gonzalez), Igor (Angulo), Edu (Bedia), Jorge (Ortiz), and Alberto (Noguera),” Ferrando said.
Right permutations and combination will be the key
FC Goa had announced their squad for the campaign last week and it has four foreign players as per the Asian Football Confederation rules. Among these four, one must be from an AFC-affiliated country, a criterion fulfilled by Australian defender James Donachie.
The other three foreigners are skipper Edu Bedia, Jorge Ortiz and Ivan Gonzalez. This has meant that the ISL 2020/21 season’s “Golden Boot” winner Igor Angulo and Alberto Noguera had to miss out.
Ferrando said it had not been easy to leave out two superb players for the Al Rayyan clash and added that, “I thank them for the good work and all their efforts, not only for their display on the pitch but also for helping the team improve.”
The 40-year-old head coach added that the presence of defenders Donachie and Gonzalez would fortify the backline.
FC Goa are in Group E (West Region) and, after their game against Al Rayyan, they will take on Al Wadha of UAE on April 17 and Iran’s Perspolis on April 20.
In his first season with FC Goa, Ferrando has guided the team to their sixth ISL semi-final appearance before losing to eventual winners Mumbai City FC. Asked how far he has come in terms of his understanding the players, the Spaniard said, “I always try to help the players improve with each passing day. And despite a great campaign in the ISL, I am aware that the team still has room for improvement. My mindset is not to think about what we have done so far but always to think of what is left to do to get closer to our goals.”