Lenny Rodrigues mourns the absence of Gaurs fans in stadium ahead of new season
Ahead of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21, FC Goa have begun preparations for a long and tough campaign. On their club day on Saturday, Gaurs midfielder Lenny Rodrigues expressed his delight at finally being back in the thick of things but also mourned the absence of fans in the stadium necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This season is very difficult for all the teams as the whole world is in a difficult situation. For us, we have to follow the protocols given by the Hero ISL. But we are happy to be back again on the pitch, so that we can entertain the fans who will be missed,” the 33-year-old midfielder told indiansuperleague.com.
An experienced campaigner in the Hero ISL, Rodrigues will be playing his third season in FC Goa colours. Having established himself as a fan favourite at the club, he has also signed a two-year extension with the club.
An emotional Rodrigues had much more to say to the team’s fans: “Without fans, it is difficult for us to play football. They were always the 12th man in the stadium. They always supported us. My message to them: keep supporting us, like always.”
Meanwhile, Spanish striker Igor Angulo, who will be making his debut with the club this season, put the upcoming season of Hero ISL ahead of the AFC Champions League, which is scheduled for next year. “The AFC Champions League is a special competition for us as it's the first time that an Indian club is going to play this prestigious competition. So, we are eager to start that competition but it is still far away. Soon the league is starting and that is the most important thing right now,” he said.
With a strong core of Indian players as well as foreign stars, Angulo is confident about the squad assembled by head coach Juan Ferrando. “Obviously I have a Spanish coach and some Spanish teammates, but I was surprised by the quality and level of the Indian players. I think they are helping us a lot. We have a good mix for this season of the Hero ISL,” he said.
League Shield Winners from last season, FC Goa kick-start their campaign on November 22 against Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda Stadium.