Hero ISL clubs arrive in Goa, begin preparations for 2020-21 season
With Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 set to take place entirely in Goa due to the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs have begun their pre-season training for the upcoming campaign at their designated grounds. Among the first Hero ISL outfits to arrive in Goa were ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Jamshedpur FC, while most other clubs landed on the west coast over the weekend.
FC Goa, Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters FC have begun their pre-season training in Goa, while Bengaluru FC started their preparations in the beginning of October at their academy in Bellary. Meanwhile, the rest of the clubs are expected to start their training by the end of this week once they complete their stipulated days of quarantine.
Antonio Lopez Habas was the first Hero ISL head coach to arrive in Goa for the upcoming season, followed by Jamshedpur FC's Owen Coyle and NorthEast United FC's Gerard Nus. Kerala Blasters FC's Kibu Vicuna arrived on Saturday while their Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys was expected to reach Goa over the weekend.
While a majority of the Indian players have already linked up with their teammates and the coaching staff of their respective clubs, the foreign players are yet to arrive, with visa restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic proving to be a hurdle. Among foreign arrivals, Peter Hartley and Nerijus Valskis of Jamshedpur FC landed on Indian shores on Friday along with their head coach Coyle. NorthEast’s Uruguayan attacker Federico Gallego also arrived in Goa along with his new head coach, Nus.
Led by their technical director Thangboi Singto, Hyderabad were among the first Hero ISL teams to begin pre-season training in Goa. Their head coach has also arrived in Goa, along with their new signing Aridane Santana as well as a few of their latest Spanish acquisitions. Meanwhile, other Spanish head coaches, including Mumbai City FC’s Sergio Lobera and FC Goa’s Juan Ferrando are set to arrive on Monday and link up with the team after a period of quarantine.
Among the remaining teams, Chennaiyin FC and their coaching staff are yet to announce the date of their team’s arrival, while Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter will be allowed to arrive in India after the approval of his visa. East Bengal’s squad is expected to reach Goa by October 16.