Glan Martins recalls his movie-like experience and how he landed a place in India’s probables list
From January 2021 to May 2021, it has been a fairy-tale experience for Glan Martins. In fact, one could say from October 2020 to May 2021 – just to be more accurate. Yes, it was October 2020 when ATK Mohun Bagan came calling for him ahead of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) and later bestowed opportunities -- not many though – on him to showcase his talent in his debut season.
Yes, he did move to FC Goa on account of limited opportunities at the Mariners during the January transfer window but Glan is not an ingrate and acknowledges who brought him to the prestigious league in the first place.
“I am glad that ATK Mohun Bagan gave me the opportunity to compete in the Hero ISL. Without that stint, maybe I am not the player I am today with the determination to show people what I am all about,” he tells fcgoa.in.
“I know I was moving up a notch and the Hero ISL would not be easy, but of course, I was disappointed with the lack of opportunities. I had been waiting to play in the Hero ISL for a long time. It can get a bit frustrating.”
Reminiscing about January 31 -- another matchday on the bench for him as ATK Mohun Bagan beat Kerala Blasters FC 3-2 – Glan, a native of Goa who learnt his football with big clubs there like Sporting Club de Goa and Churchill Brothers, says: “It was my agent’s name on the screen with a WhatsApp notification [around 10:30 pm].
“He asked me, ‘There is a chance FC Goa will make a move for you. Would you like that?’ I just typed ‘Yes’ and sent it. I was just so excited and nervous at the same time.”
There was another message from the agent shortly after. “He just told me to stay awake. He just said if it was to happen, it has to happen in the next few hours, so I should not fall asleep.”
The deal did happen over the next few hours and Glan was a Gaur now. “I called my mother straight away. I had not played that day and she was thinking I would be sad. She was surprised I was happy and then I broke the news. That was a great moment.”
Life under Juan Ferrando had its own challenges though. “The time to adapt and adjust was very little for me at FC Goa at the beginning. After finishing my period of quarantine, the coach asked me to meet with him. We had a session where he explained how he wants his team to play and where he sees me fitting in.
“He told me that he has confidence in my abilities and most importantly, not to be afraid of making mistakes as long as I can learn from them,” recalls Glan.
Glan made his first appearance for the Gaurs as a substitute against NorthEast United FC on February 4 and went on to score a screamer against eventual champions Mumbai City FC in his first start for the club on February 8 in a high-octane 3-3 draw -- his only goal to date in the Hero ISL.
After the league got over, in came the AFC Champions League, and one has to say it was here that Glan received greater plaudits playing against some of the best teams in Asia as the Gaurs finished third in their group.
“It was after one of the games. I had just changed and got hold of my phone that I saw a message. It was the manager of the national team asking me for a number of details and documents. I knew what it meant. I called my mother to tell her the news. I remember sitting on the bus thinking of what had happened in the past four months. It was like a plot for a film. But I am not a hero, I am just Glan Martins.”
The 26-year-old central midfielder made it to the 28-member probables list by Igor Stimac on Wednesday – a first for him -- as the Blue Tigers flew out to Doha for their remaining three matches in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 qualifiers.
Now if that’s not a fairy tale, what is?!