Players To Watch – Salgaocar SC’s Gilbert Oliveira

This one has and will continue to make headlines in the future having impressed in his debut season in the I-League…
Gilbert Oliveira
Club: Salgaocar SC
Country: India
Age: 20 (31st June, 1990)
Position: Winger
Jersey Number: 10

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Not many can manage to find a berth in the starting XI of a team fighting for the championship in their very breakthrough year and Gilbert Oliveira has managed to achieve the same with Salgaocar SC this season which only goes to highlight the importance of this winger.

The 20 year old started playing in inter-village tournaments before Salgoacar SC spotted him and roped him to be part of their U-19 team. At the start of the season, coach Karim Bencherifa decided to promote him to the first team and since then it has been a dream run.

“All the credit goes to the coach,” he said with his voice filled with gratitude towards the Moroccan.

He scored twice in the 4-3 victory over Chirag United on matchday two of the I-League and announced his arrival on the big stage.

“It was a big surprise for me to be in the team and to score thereafter was even better. I have scored seven so far which is good but I wanted to score a few more,” he narrated.

The Goan lad is an Arsenal fan and loves one touch football of Barcelona, and it isn’t surprising when his favourite player comes from the team which so to say plays the best football in the country – Dempo SC.

“I like Climax Lawrence. He holds the team, guides the players around, scores as well and his ability to find his team-mate always is worth noting,” said the Cesc Fabregas worshipper.

Salgaocar SC fighting for the title, what change has the team undergone from last season when they were playing to save their season.

“When I joined the senior team, I saw that some of the players were motivated to do well as last season we were fighting for relegation. We were under pressure not to repeat the same.

“The players at Salgaocar work hard and have the right spirit. Everyone plays together and for one another. Thanks to all our coaches who guided and trained us so well,” said Gilbert.

On being asked as to which games were the best in the campaign so far, Gilbert chooses two matches which were truly memorable in every sense of the term.

“Beating the defending champions, Dempo SC in Goa 3-1 was great. And the victory in the last match against East Bengal where we came back after being down by two goals,” he said.

“The coach (Bencherifa) told us at half time to give our all to bring the title to our club. He said play with all your life and I was asked to run in the opposition half more often,” he added.

Next on his wish list is to represent the country but before that he is focused on the task on hand against JCT.

“It’s the final game and we must that match to give ourselves a good chance of winning the title,” signed off Gilbert who named fellow winger Anthony Barbosa as his best mate at the club.

Attributes

-    Darting runs in the opposition half
-    Ability to cut back and shoot unlike most wingers in India


Let us know what you think of Gilbert Oliveira of Salgaocar SC. Is he the answer to India's woes on the left wing?


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