Goa, Oct 2020.
Last season saw FC Goa create history. Thanks to a club-record haul of 39 points in the league stage of the Indian Super League, the Gaurs clinched top spot and a historic first-ever spot in the group stage of the 2021 AFC Champions League for an Indian club.
Mohamed Ali, a Goan native who has been a part of the FC Goa blueprint these last three years signed a new two-year extension. The new contract affords him the opportunity to build on what he considers ‘special’ and another chance at getting back his place in the starting XI as he foresees a room for improvement both in the personal as well as collective fronts.
“This is going to be a big season ahead of us,” exclaimed Ali after committing his future to the Gaurs. “The club has always put a lot of faith in me and this is a great opportunity for me to repay the same. There is a lot of room for improvement.
“Last season was great for us as a team. We played at a high level and were thankfully able to bring a lot of joy to the lives of all Goans. However, we can’t settle. As a club, we have a long way to go. It’s only been six years since we took to the field and the stress every season has been on improvement.
“Personally, I don’t feel I was able to deliver up to my best abilities and I want to set that straight this season. The new coach gives me the chance at a fresh start and I will look to impress him in the days to come.”
A new-look FC Goa, a new challenge
The new season will see a number of fresh faces in the FC Goa shirt with the club already having made seven new signings. Ali, however, doesn’t feel that will impact much in terms of the attitude of the side and how they go about their business.
“Having new faces in the dressing room is an exciting development. It gives us even more impetus to play better,” added the 28-year-old.
“However, I don’t see us diverting from our plan. We are a club who are built on a philosophy to attack, to take the initiative in a game and that’s what we will continue to do.
“It’s a new-look side but you can see from the signings that each one of them is a high-calibre player. I expect this season to be even tougher for me, but I am up for the challenge. With a number of new and young faces, I will also play with a chip on my shoulders.
“The new normal will not allow fans to be in attendance, but we are sure that our fans will be glued to the TV and mobile sets. They are the best in the country and we look forward to making them proud once again.”