I-League: Chirag's Branco Cardozo Looks Back On His Sending Off In Oliver Kahn's Farewell Match

Homesick but Chirag was the best option...
Branco Vincent Cardozo played two seasons at Mohun Bagan after graduating from Tata Football Academy (TFA) and is now with another Kolkata outfit Chirag United for the 2010-11 season.

The striker looked back on one of the biggest moments in his career when he represented Mohun Bagan against Bayern Munich in Oliver Kahn's farewell match in Kolkata back in 2008.

Unfortunately that match also brought one of Branco's most controversial moments of his career as he got sent off after an altercation with then Bayern defender Breno.

While speaking to Goal.com, Branco recalled the incident, "I tackled the player from behind and the player kicked me back without the ball. We both retaliated against each other and thus got sent off."

The striker dates back his glory days of youth football to the year 2004 when he played for Sporting Clube de Goa's U-17 team in Goa after which Salgaocar SC wanted to sign him.

"In 2004, I played for the Sporting U-17 team where I was the top scorer. Salgaocar wanted to try me out in the team before they could offer me a senior team position, but I decided to join TFA in the same year," he said.

While expressing his experience at Mohun Bagan the young Goan said, "Most of the first year I was out of action because of a hamstring injury. In the second year I was not getting any opportunity to play as a striker. It is becoming very common in Indian football that foreigners get more attention and Indian strikers are pushed out to the flanks."

Branco had quite a few options after his two-year contract with the Mariners ran out and wanted to go back to Goa as a result of being home sick.

"I was getting home sick as I have been away for six years, and I wanted to play in Goa, but Chirag was the best option for me in the end. As a striker, you need to perform to survive. Chirag is a very friendly club, and the outside pressure is not as much as it is at the 'Big Two' of Kolkata. So I took the risk.

"Salgaocar had a loan offer for me last year, with the option of offering me a new contract after the season ends as they knew my contract at Mohun Bagan would get over by then, but I don't know what happened afterwards. I tried to sign for Dempo also, but I could not agree on the terms."

Changing the topic to the national team, Branco recalled his experience with the India Under-23 team in the 2008 Pre-Olympic Qualifiers back in 2007.

"The India U-23 team played against Thailand in 2007. We lost the away match and the home leg, which we actually lost 1-0, but was awarded to us because Thailand played a suspended player.

"At that time, I remember, the Thailand senior team had a friendly against Netherlands so it was a nice experience to play against such a quality side.

"North Korea were also in the same group and they reached the World Cup so that shows you we were in a tough group.

"I think the senior national team is doing very well under Bob Houghton and skipper Bhaichung Bhutia has always been an inspirational figure in the team," he concluded.

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