FC Goa need to go in with a ‘winning mentality’ and adopt a ‘meticulous’ approach as it makes its debut in the AFC Champions League Group Stage to be held for the first time in India, said former India captain Bruno Coutinho.
ISL champions FC Goa will become the first club from the country to play in the continental club competition on April 14 when they take on Qatar’s Al-Rayyan.
FC Goa will compete alongside Persepolis, Al-Rayyan and Al-Wahda in Group E of the group stages.
‘The clubs that are coming here have been playing at this high level from prior. For them this is not the first time in the competition,’ Bruno said in a release issued by AIFF.
‘They have very good players and it is not easy playing against teams from West Asian countries. In contrast, we are the debutants. So we need to be meticulous.
‘There is nothing to fear. You have to go with a winning mentality, which is most important.’ The action in Group E will kick off with Iran’s Persepolis taking on Al-Wahda of the UAE in the opening encounter, followed by hosts FC Goa crossing swords against Qatari side Al-Rayyan.
‘It is the biggest opportunity for fans and the Indian football fraternity that the AFC Champions League is being held in Goa. It is an honour for the players and for me as well, as a Goan,’ Bruno, an Arjuna Awardee said.
‘The tournament coming to India for the first time and an Indian team — FC Goa — playing for the first time — is great. I would like to wish good luck to them. All the best and go for the kill!’ he added.
Bruno, who represented India in 44 matches and has also been a recipient of the AIFF Player of the Year Award in 1996, said ‘the experience will help them mature faster.’ ‘I consider them lucky as they are getting to play at this level. Such moments call for giving 200 per cent on the pitch.’