And even with the tag of defending champions firmly on their back, Deggie Cardozo, the development team coach maintains that it will not be something that will be the cause of any pressure ahead of their upcoming campaign.
"I won't say there's any added pressure as such, given the tag of defending champions. Our top objective is to try and bring back the trophy home and we've been preparing for the same as well. The team is in good shape and the players are eager to show everyone what they're capable of," Cardozo said at the pre-tournament press conference.
One game at a time
Drawn in Group A, Goa will take on Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force apart from Mohammedan SC in the Durand Cup 2022 group stage.
"Without a doubt, these're strong teams. However, we would like to keep the focus on ourselves and what we can do. We'll be taking things forward one game at a time and one opponent at a time," he added.
Goa was the final stop of the Trophy Tour for the 131st edition of the historic tournament.
The Trophy Tour was flagged off from Kolkata on July 19, travelling to Guwahati, Imphal and Jaipur before arriving in Goa. After a two-day tour in Goa, the trophy returned to Kolkata, the venue of the final.
20-year-old Muhammed Nemil was one of the biggest finds for the Gaurs last year. With four goals and two assists in the Durand Cup 2021, Nemil spearheaded Goa's title-winning run in the tournament.
"Last year's Durand Cup was one of my most memorable times as a footballer. I was able to perform well and later, that gave me a spot in Goa first-time. It had been a long-term dream to play in the ISL, and Durand Cup helped me achieve that," said Nemill.
This will be the third time that the Gaurs are participating in the Durand Cup, coming on the back of a stellar campaign last year that saw them remain undefeated throughout the tournament.
In the Durand Cup 2021 finals played at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Edu Bedia's 105th-minute strike helped the Men in Orange overcome the challenge posed by Kolkata-based Mohammedan to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time.