Not just brand Goa but India: Salgaocar FC players with late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Not just brand Goa but India: Salgaocar FC players with late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.Photo: SFC Picture

Dismay as Salgaocar FC senior team pulls out of GFA tourneys

Former player and coach of the club, Derrick Pereira, says he has no words to express his feelings

BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES

Salgaocar FC is a brand of Goan football that is going to wilt with the announcement by owner Shivanand Salgaocar that only U-13 and U-15 teams will henceforth be participating in the Goa Football Association (GFA) tournaments, leaving the football fraternity the world over in anguish.

“I cannot get the right words to express my feelings. I am going to miss the club,” was the first outburst of Derrick Pereira, who played for and later coached the club team.

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“I was associated for twenty-two years with the club as coach and player. I have learnt so much. I changed over the years and made my life because of this club,” were the words of Derrick which summarised the feeling of many who passed through the ranks of the club.

Salgaocar FC was a token of gratitude of the Salgaocar family to Goa because of the windfalls of mining. Despite the discontinuation of mining, their benevolence continued, and it kept the football ecosystem alive. The withdrawal of the senior team – though not linked to mining – is a disappointing development, to say the least.

Former player and coach Derrick Pereira is numb for a word.
Former player and coach Derrick Pereira is numb for a word.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The football club, according to sources linked to the Salgaocar family, was an offshoot of the mining business. “Auctions were held for only nine mines and from these one was won by Salgaocar Mining Industries of late Anil Salgaocar,” stated a source from the Department of Mines on the condition of anonymity. 

“The mining leases previously run by the Salgaocar family are yet to come up for auction,” added the source.

“It is sad that when mining was closed, the government never thought of a way of reducing the financial burden of running the club. I think the government should have done more, keeping in mind all that the Salgaocars did over the years. I feel sad but am hopeful that one day they will come back big time,” stated Levinio Pereira, head coach of the senior and junior teams.

It is sad that when mining was closed, the government never thought of a way of reducing the financial burden of running the club. I think the government should have done more, keeping in mind all that the Salgaocars did over the years.

Levino Pereira, head coach of senior and junior teams

Salgaocar FC coaches and most officials were in the dark about the thought process that led to the withdrawal of the senior team with insiders claiming that concerted efforts were made to convince Shrinivas and his daughter Swati to maintain the U-19 team in the GFA league.

“By keeping the U-19 team, we could have had the same boys participate in the U-19 and first division league. But somehow, they did not buy the argument and finally decided to stick with the U-13 and U-15 setups,” disclosed one insider.

“I work in another department, and this decision will not affect me. But I was also kept in the dark about this decision,” stated Sanjiv Nagvekar, the manager of the team in the Goa Professional League (GPL).

The Beginning: The first Salgaocar FC team registered with GFA as Vimson line up before a match in 1956-57. Standing from Lto R: Francis Telles, Cyril Ferrao, Alex Barreto, Arcanjo Furtado, Caetano Rodrigues; Sitting - Vassudev Raiturcar, Amrut Verlekar, Joaquim Goes, Tony Monteiro and Francisco Jose Viegas.
The Beginning: The first Salgaocar FC team registered with GFA as Vimson line up before a match in 1956-57. Standing from Lto R: Francis Telles, Cyril Ferrao, Alex Barreto, Arcanjo Furtado, Caetano Rodrigues; Sitting - Vassudev Raiturcar, Amrut Verlekar, Joaquim Goes, Tony Monteiro and Francisco Jose Viegas.Photo: SFC Picture

“Shivanand has always been a man of his word, but his decision to disband his senior team without keeping his players and coaches in the loop has surprised me. What are the coaches and players going to now do?” asked another insider.

“Based on the statement of one of his coaches in the papers yesterday, it looked like there was no problem. What are the options that the players and coaches have been left with now?” is the reasoning after Shivanand made his decision public through a section of the media. 

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“If a player or coach’s contract is over, it is the role of the respective individual to check whether he is getting an extension or not. I do not think any of the players or coaches were on contract for the coming season,” claimed another source on the condition of anonymity.

“Whatever be the reason, the Salgaocars have done too much for football. We, too, gave our best for the club, but this sudden decision has left me shocked and in pain. From what I know about the Salgaocars, they will start bouncing the ball again in a few years,” claimed an optimistic Levinio.

Coach Levinio Pereira goes forward with happy memories.
Coach Levinio Pereira goes forward with happy memories.Photo: Gomantak Times

Except for the four coaching staff of the U-13 and U-15 teams, the remaining staff and players have not had their contracts renewed.

Salgaocar Sports Club, later changed to Salgaocar FC, is a brand name that the Salgaocar family created which transported Goa all over the world with its impeccable style of touch-and-go football. The ball may now stutter during its roll, but the brand will live forever.

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