After the euphoria of winning 29 medals, emotions found themselves thrown in a cauldron of reality with the Goa men losing to Services in the football opener and the hockey team being whacked by Karnataka 8-1. A twinkle of a medal hope remained from the beach soccer team as curtains were drawn on the fifth day of the 37th National Games hosted by Goa.
The Goa men and women football teams started with outside chances of being in contention for a medal and the results of the first matches of both teams lent weight to the assessment.
Coach Derrick Pereira, after his team’s heroics in the recently concluded West Zone Santosh Trophy, had to replace ten players as Dempo Sports Club and Sporting Clube de Goa withdrew their players –seven of them – and Churchill Brothers registered two for his I-league set up and one is injured.
That the boys required time to combine with each other and better, an opportunity to understand Derrick’s style of play, was evident as the boys from Services tried to exploit this faux pas.
“It was not a good performance. We didn’t gel as a team and the midfielder did not play the way we normally do. We failed once in the defense and services capitalised to score the only goal,” Derrick rued.
The damp feeling at Fatorda was lightened by the performance of the beach football team at Colva that kept up the winning momentum with another comprehensive 18-5 win over Uttarakhand.
“Let us not be over enthusiastic. Our aim is to go for gold but so is the aim of the others. We are giving our best and will continue and hope to finish as the best amongst the best,” said a confident coach Bruno Coutinho, who himself got his grounding in the sport playing on the sands of Calangute.
Satish Naik (5), Pedro Gonslaves (4), Richard Cardoz (3), Kashinath Rathod (2), Nehal Parab (2) and Joshua D’Souza and Latish Kunkolkar scored a goal each for Goa during the Uttarakhand demolition. Sarshan C (3) Mary Shagin and Chandan Karwa scored for the losers.
With Goa starting the 37th National Games with little chances of expecting medals in team events – despite the import of players from other states – the hockey match at the artificial turf in Peddem was an incoherent melody.
Except for a brief period in the second quarter where Goa scored their only goal and was the only time they created a goal scoring opportunity the remaining part of the evening was a battle between Karnataka and Goa goalkeeper Karayil Shan whose reflexive saves left the opponents in the blue.
Goa scored their only goal through a penalty they won in the second quarter. Apart from the first quarter where none scored, Karnataka scored in each other quarter and finished scoring five goals in the last.
Goa slipped to the 18th slot in the medal table with Andhra Pradesh overtaking Goa while Maharashtra’s dominance remained untouched with their tally touching 114 with 47 gold.
Haryana, in second slot, appear to be running away from third-placed Services with a tally of 50 in comparison to the 33 of the latter.