Sahil Tavora is one of the shining names in Indian football that has secured his starting spot in Hyderabad FC’s impeccable starting line-up this Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season.

The midfielder scored the all-important equaliser for the defending champions as they went on to beat Kerala Blasters FC on penalties in last year's final.

As the team looks to defend their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) title, Tavora has hailed head coach Manolo Marquez's impact that has helped create a close bond among the players in the team.

“Hyderabad is different from other teams because it has a family feel to it. We all are friends, we have fun and we eat together. We built on this and I believe this helped us to achieve what we have achieved," Tavora told in an interview.

Tavora played for FC Goa after which, he spent a year in Portugal as part of the club GDSC Alvarenga before returning to India and joining Hyderabad FC in 2019 and has been representing them for three years now. Remembering his first steps in the club and coach Marquez’s structural changes that led to improved performance, he expressed, “ I was here since the beginning, and in the first year, the team wasn’t doing well and personally I did not get much opportunity to play either. It was a forgettable year for all of us but things started to change after that. It could be seen from Manolo Marquez’s arrival, the structural changes and the players they signed. They had a clear goal of what they wanted to achieve and where they wanted to progress." 

Tavora heaped praise on the head coach’s leadership qualities that have helped the club transform and become the champions.

“Manolo is an incredible man-manager. He has good relations with the team members and is friendly. He is demanding and urges us to give our best and work hard as a team. Many players have improved under him. Manolo encourages us to play to our strengths and he keeps things simple. It is why many of us are happy and playing our best," he said.

Hyderabad FC is known for developing stellar Indian players and have always put faith in the youngsters, and Tavora is a perfect example of that. As a midfielder, he has featured in every match of the current season of the Hero ISL and has more than 35 appearances for the club.

Tavora was nostalgic over the last year’s triumph over Kerala Blasters FC and how his goal helped the team. He said, “It is a special goal, an unforgettable moment. Had I scored in any other match, I would have been very happy but scoring in the final, in Goa, in a stadium I have fond memories of, and in the match that led to our first ISL trophy made, it all more special and a night I would never forget."

Hyderabad FC suffered their first defeat of the Hero ISL season against Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday but remain top of the table. They now face another tough challenge when they travel to Kolkata on Saturday to take on ATK Mohun Bagan in their next match.