I want to make a bigger impact and play more matches in 2021-22: Sanson Pereira
Sanson Pereira had a fantastic season in 2020-21. The defender first made his Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) debut with FC Goa and went on to feature in four games. Then he went from strength to strength in the AFC Champions League in April where he started all six games for the Gaurs and impressed one and all with his performances. So, it was no surprise when he was handed a contract extension last month that will keep him at the club till the summer of 2024. The 23-year-old recently spoke to indiansuperleague.com and discussed how the last season was a rite of passage for him on many counts as well as what fans can expect from FC Goa in the upcoming season. Here is the interview in full.
Last season turned out to be excellent for you, first the Hero ISL debut and then the AFC Champions League experience. How memorable was it all?
Yes, it was a good start, but I would have liked to play a bit more, but the coach [Juan Ferrando] always gave me confidence, to begin with, and it was a case of me making the best of the opportunity. And that is something every senior player told me throughout the season, that I have to wait for my opportunity. I think I did well to make the best of the opportunity I got.
It was a great feeling playing in the AFC Champions League as we got the chance to test ourselves against the best in Asia. We were pitted against Persepolis, Al Rayyan and Al Wahda, all of whom had experience playing in the competition previously. We showed them that Indian teams are no pushovers and have set the benchmark pretty high for the Indian teams that will be participating in the tournament in future.
Recently you got a contract extension. How much confidence does that give?
As I said, last season was about me grabbing the opportunity that I got and showing everyone what I am capable of doing. This contract extension reaffirms that faith and I am happy to be playing for my hometown club. I will look to make a bigger impact on the team in the coming years to help the side achieve its goals.
What are the expectations for the upcoming season? What are the personal targets for you?
The team's collective goal is my goal as well and when you play for FC Goa you are expected to at least make it to the semi-finals without even saying it. I hope we can win that elusive [Hero] ISL trophy for our Goan fans and make it worth their wait. Personally, I want to make a bigger impact and play more games this coming season.
How have you kept yourself in shape during the offseason? Share your routine.
We had a long season last year as we ended our AFC Champions League campaign in April. I took some time off and started again with some day-to-day workouts and hit the gym with fellow teammate Glan Martins during the offseason.
FC Goa is yet to win the prestigious Hero ISL trophy despite being one of the most consistent teams in the league. Can FC Goa fans expect that the jinx will be broken in 2021-22?
I hope so. Being a local boy, I have felt all the emotions that the fans have gone through over the years. We have come close to winning it a couple of times in our history but have fallen short due to some reason or the other. However, I believe this team is confident and talented. Our performances in the AFC Champions League have given us even more reason to believe that we are the best.