Bengaluru, August 13: Former national goalkeeper Virender Singh who helped India record a famous win over the UAE in 2001, is now betowed with the task of moulding the next generation of keepers in Indian Super League (ISL) club FC Goa's developmental team (Under-23) which is competing in the ongoing Durand Cup.
FC Goa has seen Mohammad Nawaz graduate from the developmental team to the first team last season and this year it is Shubham Dhas who will be practicing with the big boys under Virender's tutelage as the Gaurs look to conquer the pitches in Bengal for the Durand Cup.
The young Gaurs are the first ones out on to the field this season as they look to replicate the successes of last season. And crucial to that would be to put up another solid show at the back as they look to find rhythm on a side of the field where the word 'rhythm' is not always associated with.
But for this team, everything starts at the back. Helping them get in sync is Virender Singh, who now sees himself in a very different role.
"Things have changed a lot from our days. There's a method to the madness as they say," said Virender who was the goalkeeper coach of the Indian team under Stephen Constantine during his first stint with the Blue Tigers.
Tasked with protecting the goal for the Developmental team this year is Dylan D'Silva. Amongst the new recruits is Guidle Syiemlieh, Roped in from Royal Wahingdoh, the Shillong native is slowly but steadily getting there.
"I came a long way from Shillong and everyone welcomed me," Guidle Syiemlieh.— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) August 12, 2019
Our newest coup in the goalkeeping department is hopeful to win as many trophies he can with the Gaurs. 🧡#NowWeRise #DurandCup #GaurTalk pic.twitter.com/DEZRjqEiuB
Dylan drew rave reviews for his brilliant one handed save in added-on time of the Developmental Team's first game of Durand Cup.
"It's one facet which is still taken as a luxury in Indian football, but moving forward this should be par," said Virender.
"People will start recognising the fact that they need to utilise all 11 players when moving forward. And we're here to ensure that FC Goa get there first."
"Our style demands much more from a goalkeeper than any other side in India," the veteran dwelled further on his coaching philosophy.
"You see the biggest clubs in the world. They are ready to pay huge amounts to get a keeper. And not for one who can just protect their goals but also help in building their attack from the back. Players like Neuer, Lloris, Ederson and Alisson have changed the perception of a keeper's value in modern-day football."
(Source: FC Goa Media)