When FC Goa signed Muhammed Nemil two years ago, it was widely regarded as a statement of intent from the Indian Super League (ISL) club. The youngster was among the first batch of graduates from the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC), having joined the programme as a 13-year-old in 2015.

By the time FC Goa came calling, Nemil had already made a name for himself in the Indian youth football circles, and the club was lauded for taking him on board as it showcased their eye for scouting upcoming talents.

Two years later, the 20-year-old has definitely made a mark at the Goa-based club. His performances, especially in Durand Cups have caused followers of the sport in the country to sit up and take note.

In the 2021 edition of the tournament, the youngster racked up four goals in six appearances, including a brace against Jamshedpur FC in the group stages helping the Gaurs lift the trophy for the very first time. And now, as the Boys in Orange look to defend their title in the ongoing edition of the Durand Cup, Nemil is once again the centre of attraction, having scored twice already in as many matches.

Though FC Goa suffered a 3-1 defeat in their campaign opener, Nemil’s goal was one of the highlights of the match. His shot, directed into the top-left corner of the net, rendered the Black Panthers helpless as they conceded a shock lead.

A few days later, Muhammed Nemil’s 8th minute strike made all the difference between the Gaurs and the Indian Air Force football team.

“I’m happy with both the goals I scored so far and I’m hoping to score more,” Nemil said.

“Against Mohammedan, when I saw that the goalkeeper was protecting his near post, I realised that I had a chance if I aimed at the far corner of the net, although I was at a distance. I’m glad it worked, but not very happy considering the result of the match.

“I’m more pleased with my winner from the clash against Air Force. I got good support from my teammates, especially Lalremruata HP and Mevan Dias who stitched the move together before Mevan passed the ball to me to take the shot. It was a team goal and the fact that it helped us win, makes it more special,” he added.

Despite his impactful performances in the Durand Cup 2021, the youngster got only a handful of starting chances for FC Goa in ISL 2021-22, courtesy of an injury in the lead up to the campaign. In 14 matches, he clocked just 362 minutes of action and had a total of just 211 touches on the ball. The 20-year-old, however, still impressed with a passing accuracy of 78.98%.

“Although I was given just four starts, I’m not disappointed. I trained with several excellent footballers, and the education I got just by doing so is extremely valuable. As a player who is still finding his way around, one has to look for ways and means to improve your own game. I’m thankful to FC Goa for handing me that opportunity,” he said, before adding that he is looking forward to more first team action in the future.

“Once my Durand Cup 2022 campaign comes to a close, I’ll hopefully be given more time to work with the first team ahead of the upcoming ISL season.

“I’m excited to work under the new head coach Carlos Pena and his staff, and it would be an immense honour to team up with the likes of Alvaro Vazquez, Iker Guarrotxena, Noah Sadaoui and of course, Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins and others,” Muhammed Nemil concluded.