FC Goa is all set to host Qatari club Al-Rayyan Sports Club in their first match of the Asian Champions League on April 14, at the Fatorda Stadium in a Group E match. It will be the first-ever first Indian football club to play in an Asian Champions League group stage. FC Goa will play all their games in the group stage of the 2021 ACL in Goa.
The Gaurs finished fourth in the league stage of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season with 31 points. They were knocked out of the league after losing to eventual champions Mumbai City FC on penalties in the semi-finals.
The ACL features some of the best clubs in the continent and a three foreign player limit effectively means that the pressure is on the local talent pool.
SQUAD LIST FOR ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
FC Goa Head Coach Juan Ferrando could select only three foreign players because of the rule which limits a team to use more than 3 foreign players.
Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Sanson Pereira, Seriton Fernandes, Leander D’Cunha, Iván González (Spain), Mohamed Ali, James Donachie (Australia), Aibanbha Dohling, Saviour Gama, Adil Khan
Edu Bedia (Spain), Glan Martins, Princeton Rebello, Brandon Fernandes, Phrangki Buam, Redeem Tlang, Makan Winkle Chothe, Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Romeo Fernandes
Jorge Ortiz (Spain), Devendra Murgaonkar, Ishan Pandita.
How did India get a spot in Asia’s Premier Cup competition?
Until now, Indian clubs had to go through a playoff stage to be given a chance to compete against the best teams in Asia to qualify for the group stages of the competition. Spot in the group stage hadn’t been a guarantee for Indian clubs.
In 2019 the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), in a meeting with the All-India Federation of Football (AIFF), stated the Indian Super League as the top football league of the country. While doing this, the ISL league champions would also be awarded an AFC Champions League group spot.