2020–21 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season will be the 7th edition of the top professional football league in India. The season will start from 20th November 2020 and is expected to end by March 2021 without any COVID interruption. This year’s season will be hosted behind-closed-doors across three venues in Goa due to the ongoing pandemic in India.
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The Venues: GMC Stadium Bambolim, Tilak Maidan Stadium, and Fatorda Stadium
Defending Champion: Atlético de Kolkata FC (Will be competing under the new name ATK Mohun Bagan this season
Runners Up: Chennaiyin FC
League Shield Winners: Goa FC
The biggest festival of Indian Football is coming back. The carnival of football will be celebrating its 7th year. The Coronavirus pandemic might have tamed the preparations and arrangements a bit but the fans can’t wait for ISL to be back. Even though it will be played behind closed doors, but the fans are ready. Social media is heating up. The banter game is firing up.
In the 2019–20 season, under Sergio Lobera FC Goa topped the league stage and won the first-ever ISL League Winners Shield and also became the first-ever Indian club to qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage. In the 2017-18 season, they were on 3rd and in the 2018-29 season they were the runners up. Under Lobera they were a formidable force. But with a new coach and loads of first team player gone, Goa will have to establish a new project again this season.
Partnership with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig
FC Goa has signed a three-year strategic partnership with Bundesliga club RB Leipzig until June 30th, 2023 that will help both in the football and business spheres for both the parties. The partnership will involve opportunities for young Indian talent to train and hone their skills at the German club's facilities and also promotion of ISL in European Sphere. Previously Spanish side Sevilla was also in talks with FC Goa on a similar partnership.
“I am delighted to have RB Leipzig as our partners. They have shown the world of football how to build from the ground up and that’s something we resonate with. It is our first international partnership and in RB Leipzig, we have the perfect partner.” - FC Goa co-owner and president, Akshay Tandon
RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff also shared his views, "We look forward to our partnership with FC Goa. The club, with its young, modern, and innovative approach suits us perfectly. The emerging Indian market is a suitable starting point for our future endeavors."
It won’t be wrong to say that FC Goa has seen the best of European football in their last season with Sergio Lobera. After three years of Sergio Lobera's reign, Goa has replaced him with another Spaniard Juan Ferrando to continue the sporting project of Goa. The Spanish tactician has the experience of coaching at some of his home clubs and also in Greece. Persistent injuries to his hip and knee made him retire at the age of 16 from his journey in Professional football. He has been in the coaching field since the age of 18. Now 39-year-Old Juan Ferrando once worked at the academies of both FC Barcelona and Malaga. He promoted Volos FC from the third tier in Greece to the prestigious Top Division. Thus, he was named Best Football League Coach earlier this year for his tremendous work at Volos. His most invaluable experience was when he joined Arsenal in 2010 to work as a fitness coach under Arsene Wenger.
Major Transfer News and New Signings
The departure of striker Ferran Corominas, a standout performer last season with 14 goals last season, Hugo Boumous with11 goals; will be major missing this season.
Spanish midfielder Edu Bedia takes over the captaincy from Mandar Rao who left for Mumbai City FC
Ferrando bringing in four of his countrymen – Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, Alberto Noguera, and Ivan Gonzalez will make a strong Spanish presence in FC Goa side.
James Kevin Donachie is an Australian soccer player. On 26 September 2020, Donachie joined Goa on a one-year loan deal from Newcastle Jets. Donachie, a strong, tall center-back who will be an interesting presentation with Spanish defender Ivan Gonzalez.
FC goa has only 5 foreign players only. They have a very strong academy prospect and a good scouting policy. Indian players such as Ishan Pandita, Redeem Tlang and Alexander Romario Jesuraj returning from his loan stint from Mohun Bagan also provide depth to the squad.
Attacking Midfielder Phrangki Baum from Shillong Lajong and Forward Devendra Murgaokar from Salgaocar FC; will be a very valuable addition to the squad.
Local Goan players – including the likes of Seriton Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, and Brandon Fernandes will be key to ensure a healthy relationship with local fans.
Mumbai City FC, who have roped in Lobera and a number of Goa's former players (Jahouh, Boumous, Fall, and Mandar Rao Dessai) earlier this year. So there are expectations of fierce competition between them this year.
FC Goa has been one of the most consistent teams in the ISL. They qualified for the 5 out of 6 seasons they played. They made it to the finals last two seasons but failed to win the title. This year they will be hoping to get their hands on the winning prize. Goa FC is known for their attacking and high paced football. We could expect some of that this year too as they have replaced players with similar profiles.
FC Goa Squad For ISL 2020-21
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Antonio D'Silva, Shubham Das
Defenders: Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Seriton Fernandes, Aibanbha Dohling, Leander D'Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Sarineo Fernandes, Saviour Gama
Midfielders: Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Ortiz, Brandon Fernandes, Alberto Noguera, Lenny Rodrigues, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Baum, Princeton Rebello, Alexander Jesuraj, Makan Chothe
Forwards: Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Aaren D'Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar
Probable XI of FC Goa (4-2-3-1)
Tlang – Brandon – Ortiz
Bedia – Lenny
Gama – Gonzalez – Donachie – Seriton