Sporting Clube de Goa midfielder Shanon Viegas will look to live his European dream following his one-year deal with Portuguese side Clube Desportivo dos Olivais e Moscavide.
The 18-year-old had two stints at the International Football Academy de Portugal (IFAPT) after which the move to the 2nd division club in the Associaco Futbol de Lisboa (AFL) got materialised.
Interestingly, the youngster's first visit to IFAPT in November 2018 after he had turned up for the India U-16 team at the 2018 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-16 Championship in Malaysia had also garnered interest from another team but Shanon was not of age to sign a contract then.
"Two years ago, he was 16 and going on 17 when he was referred by Mr. Peter Vaz of Sporting Clube de Goa. We handed him try-outs with Associação Desportiva Oeiras (ADO). The juniors' coach Nuno Vincent loved Shanon's game and wanted to sign him but because of legality issues of foreigners playing in the EU (European Union) below the age of 18 without a guardian, we were not able to sign him till he reached the age of 18," IFAPT President Elvis Goes informed Goal.
"His name was recommended by Nuno to Joao Correia who was the head coach of the first team," the former Vasco SC coach added, as Shanon returned to India to represent Sporting Clube de Goa in the AIFF (All India Football Federation) U-18 Elite League and the Goa Pro League in the 2019-20 season.
Shanon's father Michael Viegas was pleased with the opportunity his son got. He told Goal, "This is a very good platform for him. I did not want to make a hype of it. Even when he was selected for the India (junior) team, I didn't make a noise of it because he is still young. He is very different from the other footballers, very calm and with good ability."
A confident Shanon, who is one of the tallest youngsters in India at 6'2", feels that it was just reward for his hardwork. "It was a move which I wasn't surprised of. I know how I play and what I can offer to the club. It is a historical club which is situated right in the middle of the beautiful city of Lisbon," he expressed to Goal.
"This is just the start of a long journey. I have just turned 18 and I can't let my focus go astray. I have got this opportunity with the help of my father and Mr. Elvis. I'm grateful and I will try my best to make the best of it."
Shanon is a product of the Sporting Goa’s youth development program from the year 2010 and has been part of the U-12 to U-16 teams before joining the AIFF Academy in 2017. He won the 2013-14 GFA (Goa Football Association) U-14 League with Sporting Goa besides helping Don Bosco lift the Sporting U-12 trophy and emerge champions at the St Dominic Savio all-Goa inter-school football tournament in his formative years.
Having had Shanon in his squad from the 2017 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) U-15 Championships in Nepal, India U-16 coach Bibiano Fernandes mentioned to Goal, "This is a very good move. I had seen him (Shanon) at Sporting youth teams. He was technically very good and he had improved a lot with us. His height and tackling abilities in the midfield were good, as also his vision and passes."
During Shanon's second visit to Portugal, after turning 18 in January, he trained with the Oeiras seniors before Correia took over as the first team coach of Olivais e Moscavide in May and took the Goan along with him.
"Correia decided that Shanon fits a role of a central midfielder in this team by playing number 6 in a 4-3-3 formation. ADO wanted him at that time but Covid-19 (pandemic situation) took that option away," Goes confirmed.
Whereas Olivais e Moscavide coach Joao Correia asserted to Goal, "I am very happy to have Shanon in my squad. He is now in a historic Portuguese club. Shanon is a very smart midfielder who can relate his physical power to the quality of his technique. He has all the potential to reach the highest level in football and to become one of the best (football) players in India."