Whatever happened to Climax Lawrence? From playing under Armando Colaco to coaching under him

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The Dempo legend has won many laurels as a player both at club and international level and now tries his hand at coaching


PROFILE

Midfield maestro Climax Lawrence's initial steps into being groomed as a professional footballer were under none other than Armando Colaco who was incidently the coach at Sirvodem Sports Club, Margao, an organisation sponsored by Salcete FC.

When he started among the U-14s, Colaco had already set sights on Lawrence's capability. "His skills were above the rest. I told him not to be a delicate darling because he was a little bit of a weakling when he started," the coach revealed to Goal.

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Lawrence would go on to win a couple of Goa Football Association (GFA) age group championships and went on to represent Goa and then India at the U-19 level before signing his first professional contract with Vasco Sports Club.

Though he primarily played as a striker throughout his youth career, it was after joining Salgaocar in 1998 that Marcos Pacheco deployed him in a deeper position in midfield. And in his very first season of senior club football, Lawrence won the National Football League (NFL), Super Cup, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup titles.

Climax Lawrence East Bengal 08012004

His best form at Salgaocar came in the 2002/03 season when he helped them finish as runners-up in the NFL and won the Goa League and Rovers Cup titles before joining Kolkata giants East Bengal. He went on to win three trophies in a year with the Red and Gold brigade - Kolkata Premier League, Durand Cup and the San Miguel International Cup, Nepal. 

It was only natural that Dempo Sports Club came with a tempting offer in 2005 with Armando Colaco at the helm and Lawrence returned to Goa despite the Red and Golds' best efforts to retain his services.

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"I started playing for India when I was at Dempo and I will never forget when I captained the national team at the (2011) Asian Cup and when we reached the semi-finals of the (2008) AFC Cup with Dempo," Lawrence told Goal, recalling his most memorable moments with his boots on.

In 2005, other than his first NFL title with Dempo, the midfielfer helped Goa win the Santosh Trophy and was instrumental in India winning the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Gold Cup. As a result, he was adjudged as the 'AIFF (All India Football Federation) Player of the Year' in 2005. He also won the 'Best Midfielder' award in the national league twice.

Specifically with the Golden Eagles, the midfielder won a plethora of titles including two NFL trophies, three I-League titles and five Goa League titles besides winning the Durand Cup in 2006 and the Super Cup a couple of times (2008, 2010).

Climax Lawrence 2006 WCQ 06092004

Climax received his first call-up to the Indian national team for the 2002 LG Cup when Stephen Constantine was in his first stint of the national team and after years of exemplary service to the nation, Lawrence controversially decided to retire from international football at the age of 33 in 2012.

He did so after being informed by the then India coach Savio Medeira that he would be dropped from the 30-member list of probables for the 2012 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Challenge Cup.

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When he called it quits from the national team, seemingly hurt at being dropped unceremoniously, Lawrence was quoted, "I had to retire. Age is not on my side. But this is not the way you treat a senior player. During the (2011) SAFF Cup, Savio said I have two years of international football left in me. And now he does a U-turn."

The highlights of the Goan's career as a regular in the Indian squad include the 2007 and 2009 Nehru Cup triumphs and the AFC Challenge Cup success in 2008, which had led to India taking part in the Asian Cup in 2011. Lawrence had also captained the team during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers and led India to the SAFF Championship victory in 2011.

Climax Lawrence India Hong Kong Asian Games 11292006
Climax Lawrence India Australia Asian Cup 01102011

Not long after, in 2013, he eventually parted ways with Dempo SC which happened to be soon after the departure of head coach Armando Colaco. "Age was catching up with me and (Arthur) Papas wanted to work with a younger team," Lawrence explained his move to fellow I-League side Mumbai FC.

After two years at Mumbai, he made his way back to Kolkata where he was part of the Atletico de Kolkata (now ATK) team which won the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014. 

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However, Lawrence was left out of the limelight on account of an injury sustained early in the season and when he made a full recovery, then gaffer Antonio Habas would claim to already have a set team at his disposal while going into the business end of the competition, which meant his chances were cut short. 

Climax Lawrence concluded his club career with Laxmi Prasad SC and received an invitation from Armando Colaco to assist him in a coaching role at the newly launched FC Bardez in 2016, the reigning Goa Police Cup champions who next take on defending Goa League champions Salgaocar FC in the Goa Charity Cup on August 27 ahead of the 2017/18 season. 

As far as personal life goes, Lawrence married his lady love Emily Dias in 2007 with whom he has two daughters and a son, Rylan Xavi, named after Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez.

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