Coach Talk: Federation Cup Team Profile - Dempo SC starts a new series, where the head coach of the respective team tells you all that you need to know about their team before the Federation Cup...

Armando Colaco, in recent times at least, has often been referred to as the most decorated coach in Indian football. He managed Churchill Brothers for six years from 1994 and also had a short stint as the India interim coach for around six months last year.

Colaco, who plays a dual role of coach and general secretary of the club, has won almost every major title in Indian football including five national league titles (consisting of three I-Leagues accolades), a Durand Cup and his last Federation Cup victory which came in 2004.

The Japanese medio makes a key signing

The departure of Ranti Martins who has moved to Prayag Unite this season left a gaping hole in the Dempo squad while Densill Theobald wasn't offered a new contract. Dempo managed to sign Ryuji Sueoka from Goan rivals Salgaocar FC and the Japanese midfielder can play behind the striker or on the flanks.

Former Arsenal and Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts will be the first Premier League player to ply his trade in the I-league. Ricketts and Ghanian defender Stephen Offei are however yet to arrive. Besides, the majority of the side's first team squad has been retained by the management which has been a trend that would make other clubs envious of them.

Dempo have promoted two U-20 boys Aniston Fernandes and Myron Fernandes who recently trained with FC Midjiland in Denmark. However they won't be used in the Federation Cup.


"We focused on our practice matches and we prefer to take one match at a time. My only disappointment was that we got no [competitive] matches in the Goa league. We played a few friendlies, but somehow more practice matches would have been great to test my new players," said Armando Colaco.

Given the fact that not many Dempo players were part of the national team, their squad is fresh which shall work towards Colaco's advantage.


The 59-year-old is of the opinion that, "Tactics are only for 'intelligent' coaches who can change the same at the last minute."

Colaco further stated: "My system is already set. We will play the 4-4-2 formation as it's well balanced and everybody knows it well. The strategy might change as per the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition." View

As it goes with the 4-4-2 formation that Armando Colaco has managed to use so well over the years, it relies heavily on the two wingers, Anthony Pereira and Clifford Miranda crossing into the box.

Subashish Roychowdhury did have some impressive showing last season and is expected once again to take the number 1 slot  for Dempo in front of an all familiar backline.

Mahesh Gawli and Rowilson Rodrigues will play in central defence with Samir Naik and Debabrata Roy playing as the two full-backs.

Climax Lawrence brings a wealth of exerince in the middle of the park and partenering him would be Sueoka as the more attacking midfielder.

Koko Sakibo and Joaquim Abranches will start as the two strikers and hope that the team does not miss the services of Ranti Martins in front of goal.

Ricketts has to wait for his Dempo debut

"[Rohan] Ricketts is not here yet because of his work permit, and I signed another Ghanian defender Stephen Offei who has also not reached (India)," revealed the Dempo coach.

Naming a few key players, he then said, "I am very happy with [Ryuji] Sueoka, Koko [Sakibo], [Joaquim] Abranches, but [I am] a little sad to lose Ranti [Martins]." View

Apart from the above mentioned, a lost would rest on the shoulders of Mahesh Gawli after his excellent season with Dempo where he not once let the opposition strikers fox him.

Ryuji Sueoka however will be the man to watch with his trickery and pace which often make the rival team's defense look weak. He also adds an aerial threat as he has a giant leap to score headers.

Armando Colaco warns against complacency

"My only worry will be that of complacency. Usually when you get tougher teams in the group, you think that you have to play hard. So we should not be complacent," Armando Colaco confessed.

He continued: "Secondly, the ground also might be a major concern. One or two matches have been played each day, so we don't know the condition of the ground. We like to keep the ball on the ground." View

Dempo play the pass and move brand of football which could go against them if the field of play is uneven. Being clubbed with Pailan Arrows, Mumbai FC and Shillong Lajong FC in Group A of the 34th Federation Cup, it looks like easy pickings for the Panjim based outfit, but as Colaco stated there is no room for complacency.

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