A good game of football is sometimes all that a Goan would wish for to make his day. The tiniest state in the Indian union, Goa is a force to reckon with on the national level in the field of football with players from the state donning national colours regularly.
Goa's love with football seems to be a natural bond as if it runs very deeply in the Goan blood. The very mention of a soccer game can get droves inside the stadium at Fatorda with people from all over the state of Goa flocking to watch the excitement with bated breath. Lusty cheering and rejoicing at the scoring of a goal is something that Goans have learnt to excel in, over the years.
The love of football has essentially descended from Goa's colonial rule of the Portuguese. Portugal which is passionate about football is to be commended for leaving a lasting legacy of soccer on Goans to remain with us for the rest of our lives.
So besides large states such as Bengal, Punjab and Kerala are our only worthy competitors in football, Goa's domination of the sport is much more credible given the small size of our state as also fewer facilities to hone our soccer skills.
Goa is the home of prestigious clubs which have made the state proud and have also pocketed every football championship in the country including the National football league. Goa is therefore more synonymous with names such as Dempo sports club, Salgaocars, Sporting Clube De Goa, Vasco sports Club, Churchill Brothers among others who have kept the Goan flag flying high.
No sport is as important to Goans as football is and therefore the sustenance of these clubs has been beyond economic reasons. In fact unlike major soccer clubs in the western countries or even in the rest of India, either make a profit out of the game through their brand image and merchandising of their products or are showcasing their corporate image for the sake of publicity, Goa is in a different league altogether.
The prime reason why football remains to be a strong reason for Goan clubs to pursue, is merely passion for the game. The hunger and place of pride in Goan hearts for football is the sole motivating factor for all clubs in Goa to survive modern times. Despite the sport draining the resources of the club owners, football following has gone from strength to strength thereby egging these clubs to remain in force despite all odds.
It is no wonder that cricket in Goa is a secondary sport despite it being such a craze in the rest of India. For Goans it simply seems that football is a more dominant sport with a far larger following . This has been the reason why the government of Goa has declared football to be the official sport of Goa.
However the standard of football needs to be upgraded desperately. The world stage is a different arena and Goans just like the rest of India are found wanting on that stage. Goa has to therefore nurture and groom talent at an early stage and employ the services of experts from the international field to take Goan and Indian football to a new level. Enough time has been lost in playing football in fields and open grasslands. India has made strides in almost all fields for the world to take notice. It is high time, that Goan football and Indian soccer finds its own place under the sun.