Sergio Lobera refuses to use suspensions as excuse for not getting a win against NorthEast United

1st October 2018

Brandon Fernandes and Edu Bedia missed opener due to suspensions

Head Coach Sergio Lobera has always been a strong advocate of playing the game the ‘FC Goa’ way. It’s what he believes that the team derives its strength from. It’s also his belief that the men on the pitch on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati were good enough to get the job done.

The Gaurs were missing two vital cogs in the form of Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes with both of them serving suspensions carried over from last season. The gaffer, however, didn’t want to use their absence as an excuse for not getting all three points in FC Goa’s season opener.

Speaking at the post-match press conference following a 2-2 draw against NorthEast United in the first game of the season, Lobera said, “When all the players are available, it is of course more easier. It’s always great to have options like Edu (Bedia) and Brandon (Fernandes) but their absence cannot be used as an excuse for not doing well.

“As a coach I have to find a solution for every situation.”

Lobera entrusted young teenager Mohammad Nawaz for the duty in between the stick in the season opener. A former Indian youth international, the boy from Manipur had an excellent season with the development side last year. His hard and perseverance finally paid off as he made his debut in the senior team.

Speaking on what made him trust the youngster and the current goalkeeping situation, the head coach, said, “As a coach I pick a keeper based on who is the fittest at the time. We haven’t made up our mind as who will be in between the sticks in our next game against Chennaiyin. We have three very good keepers to choose from and thus, I feel blessed.

“Age is not something we look at. Age is not a factor that I take into account while selecting players. It is always about who most suited to the occasion and today it was Nawaz.”

Whilst three points were not earned, the coach expressed happiness and coming away with a point against a team that provided “a stern test”. With lessons learnt from the encounter, FC Goa now flies off down south again to face Chennaiyin FC on October 6.