MARGAO: Antonio Ciril Ferrao, alias Cyril, one of the Goa's best footballer and State's first professional coach is almost a forgotten name.The new generation of footballers do not even know about the great man that Cyril was and who devoted his life for the cause of the poor man's game. A few aficionados who are well aware of the contribution made by the legend have now urged the government and the concerned authorities to give him due recognition.
Speaking to GT, former football player of Dempo Club, Felix Barretto said that the legacy of Cyril needs to be taken forward. Nelson Lopes from Chinchinim is also of the same opinion that Cyril should not be forgotten at any cost. Lopes says something has to be done by the concerned authorities or by the association so that the footballers of today understand the legacy of Cyril.
Cyril was born on November 2, 1929, at Chinchinim to late Tomacino and Amaldina Ferrao. In his short span of life, he left a blazing trail of perfection and indelible footprints on the football map of India, and Goa in particular. He carved a special niche in the hearts of football lovers, who had great respect for his dedication and immense contribution to the promotion of the sport. He died on September 17, 1971, at the age of 42.
Lopes, who is the chairman of People of Chinchinim Trust said, "He can proudly be honuored and included amongst my memoirs 'Pearls of Chinchinim Village. He was only Goan qualified soccer coach in 1962. His personal interest, observations, suggestions, and guidance to other talented players led to polishing the players of the Chinchinim village and also of the State," he stated.
Lopes mentioned that Cyril led the Chinchinim Youth Club to great heights. Besides his services were sought by the Goa Football Association for five Nationals at Guwahati, Hyderabad, Cuttack, Nowgong and Jalandhar.
"Dempo Club, Sesa Goa, Salgaocar, Timblo XI, MCC, and many other clubs became champions of Goa league under his coaching techniques. It was due to his persistent efforts Santosh Trophy was launched in Goa in 1973 for the first time. He was in charge of the 1967 Goa team at Santosh Trophy," he added.
According to Felix Barretto, Cyril was a true legend. "I have not seen a coach like him in my entire football career. There are many coaches in Goa but a coach like him is not seen. His in-depth analysis of the game, techniques, and strategies was highly successful and received professional praise and admiration," he stated.
He further said that Cyril was the best football coach Goa has ever produced. "He was very much a motivating factor for the players and always encouraging. His contribution to football and especially Goan football is immense. And hence, the government should have recognised his contribution. Presently his legacy is overshadowed due to various reasons," said Felix.
Cyril was the first and only Goan professional soccer coach after he completed teh course at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in 1962, which changed his course and career. He earned the well-deserved title of 'best coach in Goa'.
His role as an expert Konkani football commentator with All India Radio was much appreciated. He was an accredited sports reporter for Konkani weekly 'Vauraddeancho Ixtt'.
Adv Leo Velho, a prominent personality and football player of repute at the finals of tournament conducted by him, had installed foundation stone, dedicating the CRCC ground to his revered memory. But, times, circumstances and priorities have altered the situation due to rivalries and misunderstandings.
The Village Panchayat of Chinchinim-Deussua has honored this great son of the soil by naming Chinchinim-Deussua road after him at a function on August 15, 2001. Chinchinim Trust also makes a point to give away scholarship in memory of Cyril to outstanding students from the village in the field of sports.
"Cyril can proudly be honuored and included amongst my memoirs 'Pearls of Chinchinim Village'."
Chairman, People of Chinchinim Trust
"Cyril was a true legend. I have not seen a coach like him in my entire football career."
Former football player, Dempo Club