FC Goa official predicts great future for two of his players
Hussein Skenderovic (C) during the international player draft.
Hussein Skenderovic is one of the handful of foreign technical officials associated with the Hero Indian Super League franchise teams with prior experience of Indian football, the other more prominent examples being Trevor Morgan and Jose Ramirez Barreto. The Australian national of Bosnian origin was roped in last season by Dempo SC and the move to FC Goa as conditioning coach and analyst was a natural progression.
It was fellow Australian Arthur Papas, coach of the Golden Eagles since last season, who brought Skenderovic to Goa. The two have known each other for ages, having coached against one another Down Under and having even earned their coaching licenses together.
Skenderovic, who has been associated with UAE club Ajman FC as youth technical director, finds himself at home in India and Goa. “I feel happy in India in general. I love the food, the people are very hospitable and it’s a warm feeling,” he said. “Goa is a footballing part of India, there’s always a great feel about football and everybody talks football, so you really feel like it’s an exciting place because everybody loves football in Goa.”
I think Alwyn George and Pronay Halder have a great future. They just need to be given time and a little bit of direction, they are some of the best young footballers I’ve seen,Hussein Skenderovic, Conditioning Coach, FC Goa
He also acknowledges the reputation of Kolkata as a stronghold of Indian football and knows about the passions associated with the derby duels. Having watched Dempo play Mohun Bagan in the I-League last season, Skenderovic remarked, “I was surprised by the crowd! The people were passionate.” It was a fantastic experience for him to see crowds at Indian football being as raucous and enthusiastic as they are in Australia and other parts of the world.
Having been part of the Dempo set-up last season, he is impressed with what Papas is achieving there and the cream of young Indian talent which is part of both the Dempo and FC Goa set-ups. He singles out two young Dempo players who could make it big in the future, Pronay Halder and Alwyn George, who have really impressed him. “I think they have a great future. They just need to be given time and a little bit of direction, they are some of the best young footballers I’ve seen,” he predicts.
Skenderovic feels that with so many high-profile international players and managers being here for the ISL, the duo have a chance of getting noticed. “If they get seen by these guys and they mention it outside, ‘hey, this guy in India, he’s a great player, take a look at him’, they have a future ahead,” he said.
The FC Goa official was a top-level junior cricket and medium pacer at Surrey Hill in Victoria and could have looked forward to a career in flannelled uniforms. But despite opting for a career in the beautiful game, he has not forgotten cricket. “I always had that soft spot for cricket, and I’m glad to know that they love cricket in India. If we get a few days off from football I’d like to go and watch a game in India,” he said.