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Salgaocar Stalwarts III - An interview with Francis Fernandes, FPAI Fans Player of the year 2012.
This is the third in a series on interviews on the Salgaocar Stalwarts – SFC players who have been with us through our highs and lows, for 4 years or more, an extended period in the fast and fickle world of football.

Posted on: 02-Jun-2012

Salgaocar Stalwarts III - An interview with Francis Fernandes, FPAI Fans Player of the year 2012.This is the third in a series on interviews on the Salgaocar Stalwarts – SFC players who have been with us through our highs and lows, for 4 years or more, an extended period in the fast and fickle world of football.

1. SFC: Tell us about you

FF: I have spent my childhood in Bogmalo, near to the tourist hotspot of Bogmalo Beach. It was there that I learnt my first lessons in football. I played for my school, Regina Mundi, and later, while at MES college, I gave trials for Vasco SC and got selected for Vasco U-19. I grew in confidence and started following the practice routine devotedly. My family has been my strongest support.

After two successful seasons with the Vasco SC senior team, I joined Salgaocar FC in 2006; the year when Salgaocar had relegated into second division for the first time in their history. I still remember their fans couldn’t believe it and the topic was discussed for almost a year across the city. However, I think Salgaocar FC has overcome all odds to come out as the favorite once again.

2. SFC: Your football philosophy

FF: It is a part of my daily life. I don’t know how I fell in love with this game, but now I cannot even think about myself without football. My father often says that I am a reincarnation of my grandfather, who was also an avid football fan.

Football has everything that we experience in our lives. It teaches us qualities like perseverance, hard work, sacrifice, respect, friendship and a belief in God almighty.

3. SFC: Your biggest achievement till date

FF: Winning the ‘FPAI Fans’ player of the year 2012’ was my biggest achievement and I would like to thank all my fans and admirers for that. Also, winning the I-League, Federation cup and SAFF Cup in a single season was a milestone for me.

4. SFC: Francis, you have been with Salgaocar for 7 years, despite being in demand with a number of clubs. Tell us what keeps you with Salgaocar FC.

FF: Salgaocar is the best run club in Goa. They have fine facilities for players and the management and staff are very supportive. Our club president is very kind, has keen interest in the game and personally takes care of all the players. He knows all the players by their name which is rare in other clubs. Also, they pay their players well and reward them whenever necessary. I love the way this club functions and this is what keeps me tied emotionally with them.

5. SFC: Your thoughts on Salgaocar’s performance this season and your own performance.

FF: We had a good pre-season last year and we started well by winning the federation cup. Unfortunately, we faltered in the first few games of I-League and that gave our rivals a chance to climb up the table. Our coach chalked out our weaknesses and we all worked together to give a decent performance in the second stage. But, with AFC Cup commitments and plaguing injuries to players, we could not finish in the top five.

I think my performance was decent as I played in almost all the I-League matches; however I would like to improve my performance in the upcoming season.

6. SFC: You were a part of the winning team of SAFF cup 2012; tell us about the victory and about playing for India

FF: It was my first national team call. I was very excited and was praying for a win. It is a different feeling when you play for your country. I learnt lot of things from senior players which helped me to improve my technique.

7. SFC: How do you cope with match pressure? What are the factors which drive you to perform on field?

FF: Firstly, I follow the instructions given by our coach and then plan myself accordingly. I think if you are well prepared then you will not feel pressurized, this is also true for everything in life. I don’t succumb to pressure; in fact I don’t feel pressurized at all. I just go and enjoy playing football.