FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes believes that playing for the club in the 2021 AFC Champions League is like representing India at the tournament. The ‘Gaurs’ will start their campaign on April 14 against Al-Rayyan, with them set to play all their group stage matches at their home ground, in Goa.
FC Goa have already become the first Indian club to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League and they are all set to make their debut next week against Qatar’s Al-Rayyan. With the threat of the coronavirus pandemic looming over, all the matches of Group E would be played at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa.
Apart from FC Goa and Al-Rayyan, the group will also feature last edition’s runners-up Persepolis (Iran) and the winner of the play-off between Al-Wahda (Syria) and Al-Zawraa (Iraq). It has seen FC Goa midfielder Brandon Fernandes admit that that playing for the club in the 2021 AFC Champions League is like national representation.
“It’s a huge achievement for the state and the country. It’s more like a national representation rather than a club or state. The entire nation will be watching us as one and so we ought to give it our all,” said Brandon Fernandes, read an AIFF Press Release.
Ishan Pandita, who only played his first season in the Indian football circuit, will also feature in the upcoming continental event. The youngster is enthralled with the prospect of being a part of top-level Asian football and is ever determined to make a mark in the same.
“It’s obviously a very special feeling. It’s a great opportunity that we have to show Asia and the world that India can play good football,” said the 22-year old.