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Up close and personal with Ferran Corominas and Mandar Rao Dessai
Anjishnu Roy

FC Goa players Ferran Corominas and Mandar Rao Dessai sat down with Sportwalk for an exclusive interview after the 2-1 win against their rivals this season ATK at home in the Fatorda. When asked about the importance of beating ATK, Corominas who scored the winning goal stressed that ATK was a ‘direct rival’ as they look prominent for a top 4 finish.

It was Coro’s first game in a long time as he spent some time out injured. He talked about the difficulties of not being able to play due to injuries and suspensions. “Any player who stays out of the team for some games because of injury or suspensions will find certain motivation on the comeback. Continuity and the need to play regularly is important for players. I always want to help my team. I’m happy to play and feel good.”

Corominas grew up in Spain with Espanyol. He spent 11 years with the club appearing for the club 165 times. When asked about his loyalty to the club, he revealed how it ran in the family and he took to the colours of the lesser famous club from Barcelona as a seven-year-old. “Espanyol is my team when I was seven years old. I started off as a fan of this club because my father was also a fan of this club. It has always been my team.”

The highlight of Coro’s time at Espanyol was the Copa del Rey victory in 2006. “The Copa del Rey victory was special because this team has won only 4 trophies in its history. And I played in the final and scored and played my part in the fifth trophy in Espanyol’s history. It’s amazing, really.”

FC Goa finished on the wrong side of the ISL final last season as a Rahul Bheke header in extra time broke Goan hearts. When asked about whether the dressing room was thinking about finally getting their hands on the ISL trophy this year, Coro replied, “I think all the players have in their minds the objective of ultimately winning the ISL. We need to show it in every game and we’ll try to win the trophy.”

Coro was then asked to compare the club setup in Goa to those that exist in Spain on the basis of facilities, training ground, infrastructure in place, technical staff, medical assistance and more.

“The stadiums, the infrastructure here is good but in Spain, the first division [La Liga] and the second division is way better. The facilities here in India are good but there’s plenty of room for improvement. However, I’m very happy with the attitude of everyone here in FC Goa because they want to work and improve and the medical team here is good.”

The skipper of FC Goa, Mandar Rao Dessai also made it clear that it was very important being on top of the table with the victory against ATK. “They are a good side, they have been doing well this season and we were confident arriving into this game and the result turned out good for us.”

Mandar began his career as a winger on the left side of the field and was prolific in his first couple of seasons with Goa in that positions. Since then he has been shifted back and now regularly plays as a left-back for the club. When asked about the transformation, the 27-year-old said, “It does not matter if I play as a winger or a full-back, the most important thing is that I help my team to win and play the football the coach wants us to play. I miss playing on the left wing because I started playing football as a winger but the coach wanted me as a left full-back and I’m trying to improve in every game.”

Mandar revealed that he looked up to the Brazilian superstars as a kid. “Ronaldinho and Brazilian Ronaldo were my idols. They were really skilful and I used to watch them but as time went by, I also started idolising Cristiano Ronaldo. Not because of his position but the professionalism he carries with him.”

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