Sporting Clube de Goa have started their preparations for the 2015-16 season, retaining their core.
Brandon Fernandes, Keenan Almeida, Beevan D’Mello and Velito Cruz are the only notable players to have cut their ties with the Goan club after seeing out their contract. The likes of Sandesh Jhingan and Lalit Thapa have also parted ways with the club after their loan stints ended.
The team is now preparing for the Goa Professional League (GPL) and coach Mateus Costa has revealed that the club has already chalked its plans for the season ahead.
“We will be retaining three of our foreigners from last year – Odafa (Okolie), Miguel (Garcia) and Mahmoud (Amnah). However, even though we can use two foreigners in the local league, we have decided to play none of them and we will try to give our youngsters a platform,” Mateus told Goal on Friday.
While a deal with Odafa has already been signed, sources close to Mahmoud informed that though personal terms have been agreed, the player is yet to sign on the dotted line.
Odafa will be joining the team next month as the club hierarchy remains suspicious about his off-season fitness program but the other two foreigner signings will only join before the start of the I-League, Costa confirmed. He also informed that the club is on the lookout for a marquee signing, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Pratesh Shirodkar, Victorino Fernandes and Ravi Kumar will not be available in the Goa league due to their contract with the Indian Super League (ISL) franchises while Cajetan Fernandes has returned to the club after failing to get a suitor in the ISL draft.
“We have promoted a number of youngsters from our academy. If they do well in the Goa league, they can have the opportunity to play in the I-League as well. That should be a big motivation. Souvik Das from Bengal is one such talent. Also Kamaljit Singh, who was in the Asian Games squad last year, will get more opportunities this time. Sumeet (Passi) is also getting fit. We have a number of good young players,” the gaffer explained confidently.
Sporting will be playing their first competitive match of the season on 26th August, 2015.