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FC Goa's Clifford Miranda grateful for Derrick Pereira's confidence

8:48 AM GMT 25/05/2018
Clifford Miranda FC Goa ISL
The ISL side's B team assistant has claimed that the second year of his squad is going to be crucial...

Clifford Miranda has completed his first season as a coach with FC Goa's reserve side as well as an assistant to the club's director of youth development, Derrick Pereira, in the U-20 and U-18 teams.

Narrating his journey, in an exclusive chat with Goal, the former Dempo SC winger spoke of his own growth while emphasizing on the importance of working in tandem with the first team's playing style and requirements.

"I had to first understand what Derrick sir wanted. Once I understood what he wanted, the task was to make the players understand the kind of football we want them to play, which is possession-based. It took us quite some time, though all of them were talented.

"Once we got them to play the way we wanted them, the opponents began reading us and closed us down. So we had to find ways to overcome those hurdles. It's a project and it takes time," he explained.

Youngster Liston Colaco was handed opportunities in the FC Goa first team in the Indian Super League (ISL) besides Jonathan Cardozo, who was handed a rare start in one of the ISL matches in the 2017-18 season.  

"That's the good part of it (the developmental squad)," Miranda revelled. "Players like Liston, Lalmuankima, Jonathan and a few others as well were with us in the developmental squad and based on their performance, they were promoted to the first team.

"When they go there (first team), it's never easy to make the step up with already established players being there. The good part for these boys is that we can always bring them back to play the (Goa) Pro League to ensure they are match fit and have that sharpness. This helps players' progression."

He added, "Some of them have already evolved and others will also evolve in the coming years. Most of the players, barring three or four, have not played at the senior level in the Goa Pro League ever."

Miranda also refuted suggestions that FC Goa have been splashing money to ensure the best players from the state join their reserve and youth teams. "Everyone thinks that FC Goa spends a lot of money but the truth is that our B team doesn't have as much money as Dempo, Salgaocar or Sporting [Clube de Goa]," he said. 

"We have a comparatively lower structure of salaries but the project is big. We provide them facilities like training grounds, diet and a proper monitoring system. We are looking at the long-term prospects for these players."

The former India international also confessed that he never imagined being conferred with the kind of responsibilities he has at the club and remained grateful to Derrick Pereira for guiding him through the process.

"The entire experience has been really nice for me. Derrick sir has given me all the confidence to run the sessions as per the philosophy of the club. Whatever I do, I do it in consultation with him. Overall, he has entrusted me with a big responsibility in my very first year of coaching for which I am really thankful to him. I never thought that in my first year I would be given such high responsibilities and I just hope to pay back his confidence," Miranda said.

The Gaurs' reserve and age group teams failed to make it out from their group in the AWES (Association for the Well-being of Elder Sportspersons) Cup 2017 before finishing fourth in the Goa Pro League. Recently, the team's I-League second division and U-18 I-League campaigns ended at the group stage.

"If we only wanted the results, we could have played in any way. The focus was on the performance of the boys. Of course, the performance should affect the result but in the very first year, we chose to lay more emphasis on the performance.

"The way we played (in the I-League second division), we must have dominated at least seven-to-eight matches but the results didn't go in our favour. It's normal when you are playing against experienced teams with a side whose average age is about 19. Our holding and build-up play was good, but we missed a lot of chances."

The 35-year-old exerted, "If you ask me if I am disappointed with the results, I would say no because we were never playing for the results. If you ask me about the performance of the team, we have made a big step over."

In the U18 I-League, FC Goa bettered the likes of Dempo, Salgaocar, Sporting Goa and Sesa FA in the qualifiers. In the final round, the team drew against Ozone FC, defeated Aizawl but fell short of making it to the semi-finals on account of their loss against Shillong Lajong.

Having passed his AFC (Asian Football Confederation) 'A' Licence certificate in coaching in Kolkata in 2017, Clifford Miranda is eager to spread his wings wider when it comes to his coaching degrees.

"My next personal target to complete my Pro-Licence and I want to get my coaching badges as soon as possible because it will help me grow and would be beneficial to the club as well. The second year will be very important as most of the players will be retained while we make a few additions across all our youth teams," he signed off.