Shillong, May 2: FC Goa’s 2020-21 season came to an end recently, with the completion of their last Asian Champions League Group E fixture on 29th April.

The departure of all of their foreign contingent, including coach Juan Ferrando, meant that the team went with an all-Indian lineup in their final outing against Al Wahda. That gave an opportunity for young Gaur Phrangki Buam to get his first real experience in orange colours as he played 15 minutes of the match, where Goa lost 2-0.

“It was a delightful feeling for me to make my debut for FC Goa and that too coming at the #ACL2021, surreal!” a post on Buam’s Instagram page said. “I know this is a beginning of what is a big journey for me. I keep learning each day – from my coach, team mates and keep giving my best for the team always.”

Both Redeem Tlang and Aiban Dohling described it as an “honour” to represent their club and the country at the ACL, with FC Goa being the first club from India to get to play at this level.

Dohling had played in eight Indian Super League matches, but the game against Al Wahda was his first in the ACL. “Last game was about having each other’s back, it was a tough test for us, we gave everything we had and sometimes it isn’t enough, we learn from these experiences as a team,” he said.

Of the three Meghalaya players with the Goan side, Tlang has had the most game time – he’s featured in 10 ISL and three ACL matches. “The team put in a lot of effort and showed the world that we are a group of warriors who keep fighting till the end. We are only getting better from here. We will #RiseAgain!” he said on Instagram.

There were only six Meghalaya players to be picked by ISL teams prior to the start of the season and we had to watch FC Goa if we wanted to see any of them in action. Eugeneson Lyngdoh featured twice for East Bengal but was given the boot by the club, Shaiborlang Kharpan was loaned out to Sudeva in the I-League by Kerala Blasters, while Kynsailang Khongsit was retained by Hyderabad throughout their campaign but never got to make his debut.

Since then, however, we have also had a glimpse of Damaitphang Lyngdoh becoming the youngest ever footballer to play for the Bengaluru FC senior team in the AFC Cup preliminaries. After a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, BFC will now play their playoff match against Club Eagles of the Maldives on 11th May in the island nation, so we might get to see Lyngdoh again.

(FC Goa photos)

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