Arthur Papas’ take on FC Goa talents

FC Goa assistant coach Arthur Papas shares his views on players © AIFF Media

Arthur Papas is well known to the Indian football community as the former coach of Pailan Arrows and the India under-23 teams. Last season he joined Dempo Sports Club as head coach and asked several of his former wards to head to western shores and start a new footballing chapter in Goa. The Australian gaffer, who is also assistant coach at the FC Goa of the Hero Indian Super League, shares his assessments of the Indian players who will spearhead the Goan challenge in the ISL:  

Laxmikant Kattimani: He went on last season to establish himself as the club’s No. 1 goalkeeper. He has all the ingredients required to eventually become the Indian national team No. 1. He provides a calming influence on the team and rarely looks panicked even when under intense pressure. He has a very strong all-round game both with his ability to play out from the back as well as his presence in and around the box.

Rowilson Rodrigues: Rowilson has rejoined Dempo this season, and having worked with him over the past few weeks, he has shown very quickly an immense physical capacity, overall; an outstanding athlete! He is now working hard to improve his tactical understanding and has shown the ability to adapt very quickly to our style of play. If he can continue to improve at the level he has shown I expect him to very quickly knock on the door of the senior national team.

Debabrata Roy: Debabrata was one of Dempo’s most consistent performers last season, taking part in every I-League match. HIs greatest strength is his versatility and game understanding. This is highlighted by the fact that in the season just past, he filled all roles across the back four at one stage or another, and this adaptability identifies his level of insight. He’s technically very competent with both feet, and is another player who has represented the senior national team. A real leader within the group.

Prabir Das: Prabir is a versatile young player who over the course of two seasons, has been converted into a very attack-minded right full back. He can also operate in the centre of the midfield or on the wing. He has an infectious personality and a capacity to push himself to the maximum. He is still developing his trade but has the necessary tools to forge a long and successful career.

Narayan Das: Although he is one of the youngest players in the squad, Narayan is already on the way to becoming an established Indian international. His strengths are his passing, crossing, and his defensive anticipation; a well-rounded game with few weaknesses. In addition, Narayan has a fantastic character and approaches his football with 100% commitment. A real pleasure to coach.

Alwyn George is a classical No. 10 which is rare to find in India as this type of player was not developed by design in the past. He has a high level of tactical intelligence and combines his speed and technique to manoeuvre out of even the tightest situations.

Arthur Papas, FC Goa Assistant Coach

Pronay Halder: Pronay is a player who has matured tremendously since I began coaching him over two years ago. He has a great desire, immense physical capabilities and is now understanding the tactical nature of his game and how to use his particular characteristics to influence matches. If he continues on this trajectory I expect him to be a senior National Team midfielder in the not-too-distant future.

Peter Carvalho: Peter is another one of our players who has represented India at the senior level. Has been a mainstay for Dempo for many years and shows no sign of slowing down. A midfielder with the capacity to get up and down all day, he finds the balance between the technical side of his game and the ability to provide the steel the midfield needs at times. Softly spoken off the field, once Peter crosses the white line he becomes a real beast for the team in the way he goes about his game.

Jewel Raja: Jewel has represented India at every level and is in his second stint at Dempo. After flirting with various positions in the past, Jewel has found that his most comfortable position is in the middle of the park. He possesses a large aerial capacity and this aids his desire to press opponents relentlessly. He has also improved his passing and decision-making, had a very strong second half last season and has continued the momentum so far this campaign.

Alwyn George: Alwyn is a classical No. 10, which is rare to find in India. He has a high level of tactical intelligence, and combines his speed and technique to manoeuvre out of the tightest situations. In the past 12 months he has added a real defensive discipline to his game and is continuously looking to improve and work hard. Already a senior national team player, Alwyn has a big career ahead of him if he continues in the same vein.

Holicharan Nazary: I’m a huge believer in the talent that Holicharan possesses whilst also understanding that it is not as easy for Indian forwards to establish their careers in the same way they can in other positions due to foreign competition. He is technically proficient with both feet, has a real turn of pace and his finishing is as good as anyone's within our squad. Until he becomes physically more robust we will continue to rotate him across the front positions to develop his all-round game.

Clifford Miranda: Clifford is one of the finest players to have represented India and Dempo over the past couple of decades. A silky left-footed winger, he can produce the spectacular and is always looking to get into 1-on-1 situations, or to provide the final ball. Over the past 12 months he has been rotated on either wing and even in midfield and has a sound tactical insight. Clifford shows no sign of slowing down, and has many good years ahead of him to delight the crowds with his exquisite skills. An important leader within the group.

Mandar Rao Dessai: Mandar has exploded onto the Indian football scene in the past 12 months. Prior to joining he had yet to play in the I-League, but today he is a starter in the Indian under-23 team. Another one of our left-footed gems, Mandar has shown a great desire to learn, and for this reason he has improved dramatically. Blistering pace coupled with a very sound technique makes him a very difficult player for opposition fullbacks.

Romeo Fernandes: Romeo is the great unknown, it seems. He represented India at the under-22 AFC Cup qualifiers, and scored against Iraq. He has all the attributes to become a top winger, both domestically and internationally, and needs to now find the consistency to realize this potential. One of our best players when attacking 1-on-1, he has incredible speed and can score spectacular goals. He’s still young enough and if he can fulfil his potential, the country will have a very special player.

Gabriel Fernandes: Gabriel is a very powerful and explosive winger. Predominantly right footed, he is comfortable cutting inside from the left or beating his player on the outside on the right flank. He is still learning more and more about the defensive side of his game but has a great attitude and willingness. Similar to Romeo, he has immense potential and once he can find the consistency within his performance, he can become a very crucial player both domestically and internationally. Fantastic character within the group!

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