2nd Division I-League top scorer Robert De Souza eyeing top prize

Ozone FC
Ozone FC's Brazilian recruit has taken the league by storm with eight goals to his name in the first round...

Bengaluru-based 2nd Division I-League outfit Ozone FC have been making all the right noises this season. Having qualified to the final round from Group B, much of the credit for their success lies at the hands of Robert de Souza.

The 26-year-old was brought to bolster Ozone's threat up front and he obliged and how! 13 goals in the Bangalore Super Division and 8 goals in seven 2nd Division appearances makes for an impressive showing.

"Now the aim is to win the championship. I am very happy now. It was so important for us to qualify for the final round. It is a big opportunity for me having scored so many goals in such few games. I hope to continue my form to create goals and help my team", he told Goal during an off-day from training before the final round starts on 24 May.

His sights though are set on the ultimate prize - qualifying for the I-League. "My aim is to play the I-League with Ozone. But now the focus is to play well to qualify for it. After that, I don't know what happens. It is a good opportunity for all our players. Now I am very happy. We have this week to rest, recover our energies and face the best teams in the 2nd Division.
"We cannot go wrong no more. Our team played 20 official games this season and we only lost the last game. All players are focused to play well and qualify for the I-League. It is a big moment for us and the club," expresses the left-footed poacher.

De Souza arrived on Indian shores after brief unsuccessful stints in his native Brazil with Madureira Esporte Clube and Barra Mansa. He, however, started his journey in Italy with Padova Berretti where he turned out for their U19 side, playing in the Primavera B for two seasons as a teenager.

Like most of his teammates, de Souza can't sing praises of head coach David Booth enough. He held the Briton in high regard saying, "I have had two coaches that helped me a lot in my career. First, it was Alessandro Dal Canto in Padova who is a good coach and now I have David Booth.

"He is a good coach, a good mind, good trainer, helps to focus which is very important. My relationship with him is very good and we have no problems. I am very happy here because the coach is very intelligent and understands me. It is good for the whole team," he complimented.

While the ultimate objective this season is to take his current club into the top-most division, de Souza wasn't shy when asked if he would fancy a move to the cash-rich Indian Super League (ISL) in the future. But, that would only come as a result of Ozone not wanting him next season he clarified.

"I hope to qualify for I-League and then I will talk to Mr. Rafik (club CEO) and the coach. If Ozone wants, I will stay. Now you have many leagues in India - the ISL, the I-League. I would play the ISL if any team wants me but if Ozone wants me, I will stay back for the I-League," he said.

More of such fireworks in front of goal in the final round will not only help Ozone stake their claim for a spot in the I-League next season but also put other de Souza in the spotlight. It will be interesting to see how the Brazilian charts his own destiny in Indian football.