Brandon: Imperative for Indian clubs to perform well in continental club competitions

Brandon Fernandes wants Indian clubs to do well in the continental club competitions because that will facilitate the growth of football in the country like nothing else.

Brandon featured for six-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) semi-finalists FC Goa in the AFC Champions League earlier this year and provided assists for the two goals that the Gaurs scored in the competition, eventually finishing third in the group ahead of Al Rayyan SC of Qatar. 

“We wanted to show that we can play good football and can play in the high level competitions. Whoever is representing India should play their heart out and give their best. If Indian clubs perform good at that level then in the coming years our country can be the best footballing nation,” Brandon told khelnow.

Brandon doesn’t want the priceless AFC Champions League experience to be one-off and hopes to have more of it in the near future. It may be noted that next year, it will be reigning Hero ISL champions Mumbai City FC participating in the prestigious competition. “It was one of the best experiences in my football career. The competition level was very high and those types of matches are going to make us better as a player. I wish to play the AFC Champions League again. It will raise our level when we play such types of opponents,” he said.

The 26-year-old midfielder also expressed his admiration for FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando who, he thinks, has made a difference in his first season in the Hero ISL. “Every coach for me is different. They have different way of thinking about the game and the way to see football. Juan Fernando is a typical Spanish coach and it is nice to play under him because he has his own philosophy. I have good experience under him and as long as he is there, I think it will nice to play under him,” he said.  

However, Brandon refused to be drawn into making any comparisons between Ferrando and national coach Igor Stimac. “When you play with the club, you have foreign players playing alongside you. But when you play for your nation, there is no foreign player. The dynamic of the team changes, so it is completely different when you play under club coach and national side coach,” he said.

Last season a lot of Hero ISL players went on to represent the national team and Brandon was particularly impressed with Suresh Wangjam of Bengaluru FC and Liston Colaco, who joined ATK Mohun Bagan from Hyderabad FC after the 2020-21 campaign. “There are lots of names. All the young players, who are coming up now, are very promising and for me Suresh Wangjam is a very good player. He has been regularly starting in the last few matches. Even Liston Colaco has a bright future. All the young players who are working hard now will be big stars in next few years,” he said.

Among his FC Goa team-mates, Brandon believes defender Seriton Fernandes deserves a chance in the national team. “Anybody who perform well can be in national squad. I think Seriton Fernandes deserves to be a part of national side but it was unfortunate [missed out because of COVID-19], but I think, he will make his national team debut very soon,” he said.

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