Hugo Boumous: Been following the Hero ISL since its first season

FC Goa’s star midfielder Hugo Boumous has established himself as a firm fan-favourite among the Goan faithful ever since joining the club during Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2017-18. An integral figure behind Goa’s surge to the top of the Hero ISL standings last campaign, Boumous was in mesmerizing form and registered 11 goals as well as 10 assists for the Gaurs in his third season with them.

“I was already following the Hero ISL since the first season. There were many star players like Robert Pires, Roberto Carlos, Alessandro Del Piero, Marco Materazzi, Nicolas Anelka and David Trezeguet,” Boumous told Anant Tyagi in the latest episode of Lets Football live.

“I was in touch with Sergio Lobera, under whom I played in Morocco. I saw his first six months here in Goa and it was crazy, I didn't hesitate to tell him yes at that moment and today I am not disappointed with my decision,” he added.

Boumous, who won the coveted Hero of the League and the DHL Winning Pass of the League trophies last season, spoke on a wide array of topics, shedding light on his deadly partnership with Hero ISL’s all-time leading goal-scorer, Ferran Corominas as well as the rest of his teammates. Here are a few excerpts from their session.

Boumous’ telepathic understanding with Corominas

The French-born midfielder arrived on Goan shores during the winter transfer window of Hero ISL 2017-18 and was an instant hit, scoring twice and providing just as many assists. “When I came the team were already on top and scoring a lot of goals. They were playing an amazing brand of attacking, tiki-taka football. There were many great players like (Manuel) Lanzarote, (Ferran) Corominas, Edu Bedia, (Ahmed) Jahouh,” Boumous said on his first days with FC Goa.

The partnership between Corominas and Boumous has been well-documented with the latter providing as many as 10 assists for the Spaniard during his time with Goa. “He is an amazing player. I think he has 48 goals over three seasons in the Hero ISL. He makes my job easier on the pitch. We understand each other, and we are friends off the pitch as well. When you have two players with football sense like us, it makes it easier to find each other on the pitch. The passing, the finishing, everything becomes easier,” he insisted.

FC Goa’s foreign contingent

A strong core of foreign players has been crucial to Goa’s success over the years and last season was no different as the team led by Sergio Lobera first and then Derrick Pereira finished on top of the Hero ISL table and were crowned the inaugural Hero ISL league winners, which guaranteed them a place in the AFC Champions League group stage.

On playing along with experienced and quality foreigners, Boumous opined, “All of them are great guys, very professional and have had some great careers before coming to India. Carlos Pena has a lot of experience, he has plans of becoming a coach in the future and his experience will come in handy.”

The 24-year-old continued, “Jahouh is one player we all know very well. He is an amazing player with an amazing passing range. For me, he is the best midfielder in the Hero ISL. Mourtada Fall is a rock, or a wall, as the Gaur fans call him. Edu Bedia is very technically gifted having played in the La Liga. He assisted my first goal in the Hero ISL against Delhi (Dynamos FC) as well.”

Brandon, Nawaz and the Indian players of FC Goa

While having a strong foreign core is pivotal to any team’s displays in the Hero ISL, having a formidable domestic pool of talent is just as significant. Indian international Brandon Fernandes has become a mainstay in FC Goa’s setup, having reached the landmark of 50 appearances for the club over the last three seasons.

Last season was his best yet for the Gaurs with two goals and seven assists, and Boumous hailed Brandon’s influence on the team, saying, “He is a guy with a lot of technical quality. He has a sense of intelligence on the pitch. He is still young and has a lot of potential. He is a great player, with a great understanding of the game and how to play. It matches with the other players in the team like Jahouh and Ferran. In the next few years, I think he will take the lead in the national team and make it well and the others will follow him.”

Boumous also admitted being impressed with some other of his Indian teammates, including FC Goa’s goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz. “I think this season we played the best football over the whole season. Players like Seriton (Fernandes), Mandar (Rao Dessai), Lenny (Rodrigues), and even our goalkeeper Nawaz. He has the mind to play that kind of tiki-taka football. He is still very young, but he has a lot of quality. He is very good with his foot, which is quite rare for a goalkeeper. His short and long passes are very good. He has a great mentality and is a very hard worker. I am sure he is going to improve over the years and become one of the best goalkeepers in India.”

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