BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
First division clubs of Goa Football Association (GFA) in a meeting called by GFA on Tuesday managed to rescind the Executive Committee decision of relegating six teams to three teams to the second division and have the league of 23 teams in three groups instead of four as previously envisaged by the Competition Committee chaired by Anthony Pango, Vice-president from South Goa.
It may be noted here that the Executive Committee of GFA in its meeting on January 18 had endorsed the proposal of the Competition Committee to amend the 2022-23 First Division League leaving the clubs surprised and shocked (see GT Digital Feb 13, 2023).
As per the proposal, first-division teams were to be formed into four groups and the competition was to be played on a single-leg basis with six teams to be relegated.
“It was agreed to relegate three teams and I think the decision is not just good for the clubs but GFA too as like this, no one is going to be hurt and football triumphs,” stated Levinio Pereira, president of Clube Sao Miguel de Taleigao and confidant of GFA President Caitano Fernandes.
The 18 first-division clubs, which attended the meeting on Tuesday at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, objected to GFA proposal of relegating six teams and instead requested that three be relegated.
The teams' request has been taken on board and now the first division league will be played with the teams being split into three groups of 7-7-8,” stated a member of the GFA Executive Committee on condition of anonymity.
“A meeting of the Executive Committee will be called to ratify the decision,” he added.
GFA President Caitano Fernandes chaired the meeting with the manager of the first division team which was attended by nine other members of the Executive Committee with the focus being on Anthony Pango who preferred to communicate through facial expressions through most parts of the meeting.
"The Salcette matches are expected to start on March 28 and the matches in the North are expected to start on April 10,” informed, Prakash Dessai, manager of Cuncolim Union.
Prakash Dessai, manager of Cuncolim Union
“At one stage, President Caitano tried to insinuate that the majority of the Executive Committee was in favour of the old proposal but he was shut down by a member who reminded him that the development of football is not about majority,” stated Prakash.
The meeting between the GFA members and the managers saw some heated exchanges with the managers of clubs whose sole objective was development of football through competition.
“We do appreciate Caitano for spending his own money for the good of football but he cannot listen to a guy like Pango whose understanding of football is negligible,” stated a team manager from South Goa on condition of anonymity.
“I am happy with the way the meeting ended. Of course, we could not get clarity on the way forward next season but for now we know where we are going and that is good enough," stated Iyno D’souza of Goa Velha Sports Club.
Iyno D’souza of Goa Velha Sports Club
“The GFA Executive Committee wants to bring down the number of teams in the first division to fourteen within the next three years. Why not sixteen? Who says there should be fourteen teams and not sixteen in the first division,” asked a member from North Goa.
The number of teams in the first division was increased over the past few years when most members of the present Executive Committee were present. Hence the decision to reduce the teams to fourteen is looked at skeptically.