Goa, September 16, 2021: FC Goa sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Durand Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Sudeva Delhi FC in their last game. The joy of making it to the knockout stages of the competition was however subdued as a nasty challenge on star forward Jorge Ortiz out brought down the curtains on his campaign.
Head Coach Juan Ferrando whilst speaking to the media in the pre-match press conference before the Gaurs’ final group game against Jamshedpur FC sounded both concerned about the actions taken following the injury by the tournament authorities and the present situation.
Elaborating on the injury sustained by Ortiz and the current mood in the camp, he said, “We are currently gauging the injury sustained by Jorge. I can’t say much more. He won’t play in the Durand Cup. The fans the quality of the tournaments to improve but the players have to be protected for that. If the players feel that there is a high chance of getting injured, they won’t want to take part in the competition.
“The Durand Cup is a prestigious cup. It’s an honour to take part but I am upset about the level of refereeing. They are not protecting the players. It is dangerous.
“I am very upset about the match commissioner of the last match. After the match, I was speaking to the match commissioner, and he was laughing. It’s a big injury for Ortiz. It was not the moment to laugh when we were in a serious problem like this. I don’t know why he was laughing but his job is to protect the players.
“We are here to participate with the best players and want to put out the best line-up. However, now it becomes a big question for me as to we should participate in these tournaments (in the future) or train in Goa for the pre-season. The motivation of the players is now different.”
FC Goa’s Director of Football, Ravi Puskur, who was also present during the press conference shed further light on the situation.
“We have already written to the tournament organisers as well clearly outlining the sour taste that this experience has left us with. Sure, tackles can go in any football game. That’s the nature of the sport,” said Puskur.
“We are not particularly concerned about the fact that the tackle went in as such and victimise any player or individual incident but there are rules and regulations in place and the tournament committee will act upon that. We just want them to show us that the players are protected.
“We will love to continue to play this tournament and send the strongest team possible. We have written to the federation but unfortunately, we haven’t had a response from them as of yet. That does leave us a bit disconcerted as to how our players are approaching this (tournament).”
The challenge ahead
Tomorrow, the Gaurs take on Jamshedpur FC in their final game of the group stages. Consisting mainly of players from their youth system, the ISL side has failed to find much consistency in their performances.
After winning their first game against Sudeva, the Reds went down to Army Green. And now they will have their task cut out against the formidable Gaurs.
“We can’t take things easy. Our focus is on the whole team. We are not thinking about how to protect certain players. We need to prepare the team for the game,” remarked Ferrando.
“We have 29 players and we want to protect all 29.”
About FC Goa
FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL) and is the current holder of the Super Cup. Nicknamed the Gaurs, FC Goa has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the ISL – reaching 4 semi-finals and 2 finals in 7 seasons.
In Season 2019/20, the club won the Hero ISL League Winners Shield, by finishing top of the table in the league stages and became the first-ever club from India to play in the group stages of the AFC Champions League in April 2021.
Co-owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, Mr Akshay Tandon and Mr Virat Kohli, FC Goa is one of the few Indian Clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. Its U14, U16, U18 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and India. The system has produced recognizable talents like Liston Colaco, Saviour Gama, Princeton Rebello and many more.