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Lenny Rodrigues: I want to finish my career in Goa

08:34 EAT 22/03/2020
Lenny Rodrigues Mumbai City FC Goa ISL 6 11072019
The FC Goa midfielder expressed his support for former coach Sergio Lobera as well...

Lenny Rodrigues has been one of the integral parts of the FC Goa side that topped the league stage of the Indian Super League (ISL) and booked a ticket to the group stages of the AFC Champions League.

Though the Gaurs could not make it to the final after being defeated by Chennaiyin FC in the two-legged play-offs, there is no questioning the success the side achieved in the season.

Incidentally, Lenny has lost two ISL finals (2017-18 and 2018-19) with two different teams, Bengaluru FC and FC Goa, but has won a Super Cup title with both sides.

The Goan revealed to Goal that he was among those injured for the ISL 6 play-offs and had to take an injection to be match fit. He feels that Goa gave their all in the 5-6 aggregate defeat against Chennaiyin FC, which included a 4-1 loss in the first leg.

"I think we missed three main players (Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous) [in the first leg]. The main reason was injuries. I was also injured but I took injections and played because we so wanted to win the title, but hard luck. We gave our 120 per cent or you can also say 200 per cent in the second leg (but it was not enough)," he said.

Rodrigues had a splendid season in midfield, recording impressive numbers of 1267 touches and 1039 passes. But he could not make it into the list of 42 India probables that Igor Stimac named for the now-cancelled India camp due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I will keep working hard, the way I have always. I will accept the national team call-up whenever it comes and till then I will continue giving my best for my club," he expressed in a determined tone.

The 32-year-old made his national team debut in 2012 when he represented Churchill Brothers in the I-League. Having spent six years with the Red Machines from 2008, he joined the ISL bandwagon with a move to FC Pune City where he spent three seasons before loan moves to Dempo SC, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC, after which he joined FC Goa.

With a couple of years on his current contract, Rodrigues has stated that he wishes to finish his club career in Goa.

"I want to finish my career in Goa," he said.

His youth career spanned across various Goan clubs like Fransa Pax (now disbanded), Salgaocar FC and Churchill Brothers. The lanky midfielder insists that Goan players have a lot of talent, given that almost 17 Goan players featuring the ISL.

Though FC Goa had more local players (8) than any other club in the ISL last season, Rodrigues wants more. "We need more Goan players. Goan players have a lot of talent and quality."

The Indian contingent of FC Goa backed Sergio Lobera after he was sacked towards the end of last season, as shown by the gesture below.

"I miss Sergio Lobera. There is no doubt that Indian coaches can manage a team (in the ISL). Indian players will follow them but it is a bit of a challenge when it comes to foreign players. That's the main problem," Rodrigues explained.

"When there is a good coach, quite a few good players follow him too," he added.

The coronavirus scare has thrown everything out of gear as Rodrigues is of the opinion that social distancing is one of the measures that has to be adopted by everyone to help fight the pandemic.

"As a footballer, I am missing football but everybody knows how dangerous this coronavirus is. At the same time, I am having a good time with my family. I can give them time. So it's better to stay at home and enjoy with your family," he recommended.