FC Goa have done some shrewd business in the summer transfer window. Along with acquiring the services of head coach ‘Don’ Manolo Marquez from Hyderabad FC, the Gaurs have signed some big names.

Two of the big names include former Bengaluru FC duo Udanta Singh and Sandesh Jhingan, who recently were in action for the national team in the recently-concluded, Hero Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championships, where the Blue Tigers emerged as champions.

Jhingan was ever-present for the Blue Tigers throughout both the competitions and formed an unshakeable backline alongside Anwar Ali, keeping seven shutouts and conceding just two goals. Udanta, on the other hand, scored his second-ever goal for the national team in their 4-0 rout of Pakistan. 

The duo have been warming up and have begun the new season afresh in FC Goa’s training camp at the Salvador do Mundo ground. The two will be a crucial cog in the team as Marquez assesses his squad ahead of the Durand Cup.

“It always feels good, when you’ve won something and then look to start a new challenge in your professional life. I feel good about myself and my performances and hope to continue this run with FC Goa as well in the weeks and months to come,” Jhingan said to FC Goa.

“When you want something together as a team and showcase your collective desire by striving hard together, it brings success. I’m glad to see that happening here in FC Goa as well. Since I joined, I’ve had so much fun in training, learning from my teammates and coaches,” stated Udanta.

While the Indian football national team has reached new highs in their 2023 campaign so far, Jhingan aims to strive forward with the same mindset and philosophy with his new club. 

“Of course, our victories would not have been possible had it not been for the whole team. We played the Hero Intercontinental Cup (in June) followed by the SAFF Championships with a common goal in mind – winning both competitions. We pushed each other to work harder and supported each other during tough times,” the defender said.

“Here (at FC Goa) again, we’ll continue to do the same. There’s a lot of focus on motivating each other and working together. It makes sense, does it not – because ultimately we have a common goal – bringing glory to the club,” the centre-back added.

The two will bring a tonne of experience that can bring a massive turnaround to the side that hasn’t qualified for the playoffs for the second season running. However, the Gaurs are still one of the most consistent sides in the league, having made it to the playoffs a record six times – most by any team in the league.

One of the experienced campaigners in the national team, the duo have been around for a large amount of time at the club level as well. Further, they were part of a Bengaluru FC side that made it to the final of all possible domestic competitions last season – Durand Cup, Hero ISL, and the Hero Super Cup.

“We’re happy to reunite at FC Goa. When you mention this Club’s name, the two things that immediately come to mind are the quality and consistency that they have displayed in Indian football over the years,” Jhingan said.

Udanta, too, added: “I’ve also always admired FC Goa. This place has one of the best footballing cultures in the country, and the club has passionate fans. So when my chance came this summer to sign for them, I did not have to think twice.”

“I really like how our training ground, the gym and the medical centre are all at one place. The training facilities are perfect. My new teammates and the staff at FC Goa have made this place feel like home already, though it has only been a few days since I arrived,” the forward further explained.

Marquez brought former club Hyderabad FC to the top from the trenches and is renowned for reeling in young Indian talents in the first team circuit and developing them. Along with his expertise of zeroing on youth development, the Spaniard has a sharp eye for scouting and recruitment, bringing in the right kind of players that will fit his playing style.

The Gaurs have roped in nine new players for the upcoming season including four foreign players and five domestic ones, indicating a major tilt towards Marquez’s brand of football.

“We’re all aware of Coach Manolo’s contributions to Indian football over the past few years. I’m excited about this opportunity to work with him. The management has also shown a lot of ambition, as evident from the signings of players like Udanta, Odei (Onaindia), Rowllin (Borges) and Boris (Singh) to name a few,” Udanta expressed.

“It shows that we’re all equally hungry for success, and it’s a good sign. I’m confident that we’ll enjoy a very good season,” Jhingan concluded.