You can forgive a champion club of India paying less attention to the State League. But that has never been the case with Dempo Sports Club and it will probably never be. The four time I-League Champions who have three appearances in the knockout round of the AFC Cup, have always prided themselves on winning the Goa League and have taken it seriously every single year. Expect this year to be no different as the defending champions take on Sporting Cube de Goa in their first match of the Super League on Sunday.
The Goa League format has been changed this year with it being made a ten team league. At the end of the first phase, the bottom five teams, Santa Cruz Club of Cavelossim, Goa Velha Sports Club,SesaFootballAcademy, Margao Sports Club and Calangute Association battled it out to determine the team that would get relegated at the end of the Relegation League- Calangute Association being the unlucky party. The Super League- to determine the champion club ofGoa-has Sporting Clube de Goa, Vasco Sports Club, Churchill Brothers, Salgaocar and Dempo battling it out for supremacy. Dempo currently lie in fourth place in the Super League, six points behind leaders Salgaocar who play today, but have a game in hand. The defending champions were knocked form their perch after three successive losses against Salgaocar, Vasco and Santa Cruz Club of Cavelossim. Sunday’s game against Sporting Clube de Goa gives Mauricio Afonso’s boys a chance to break the three match losing streak.
Every game is probably a must win game for Dempo now. After Sunday, Dempo play Salgaocar on the 23rd, Churchill on the 26th and Vasco on the 29th. Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso has thundered that his team will not take the Goa League lightly. “We are here to win the Goa League. We will not take it lightly. Winning is very important”, he stressed. Mauricio also divulged that Japanese Kato will start this game along with a couple of other juniors.
Sporting lost their previous game against Churchill Brothers after an injury time goal from Joshua Rebello and will be looking to win against Dempo. They have a full strength team at their disposal except for Adil Khan who is in Dubai with the national team.
DEMPO’S SCORERS IN THE GOA LEAGUE