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KIFF felicitates soccer prodigy Fernandes Teen eyes ISL to showcase talent

KUWAIT CITY, May 30: The Kuwait-India Football Federation (KIFF) Thursday evening felicitated the Goan soccer prodigy Brandon Fernandes — the only Indian so far to have represented the country in U-13, U-14, U-16, U-17 and U-19 in various countries including Uzbekistan and Iran and has had a three-year stint in Cape Town, South Africa. Brandon is in Kuwait as a special invitee at the final of the 2013-2014 JP D’Mello soccer tournament played today at 18:30 hours at the Qadsiya Sports Club. The tournament is organized by the KIFF. KIFF President Fidelis Fernandes speaking during the event which was attended by clubs presidents and soccer players affiliated to KIFF and managing committee members wished Brandon success and thanked him for accepting the invitation to visit Kuwait and be an inspiration to football loving youth.

When asked how he got into soccer at such a young age, when most children of his age make a beeline to school, Brandon told the Arab Times, “when I was four or five years old, my dad who is involved in soccer activities at the Goa Football Association encouraged me to play football.” “However, I began playing real football at the age of seven when my father bought me a pair boots. The first club I played was the Fransa-Pax Football Club owned by the Goa politician Micky Pacheco. I played for this club for four years; following which I spent four years with the Velsao Pale Club and also played for the Salgaokar Youth Team for nearly three years.”

Now 17 years old, Brandon says after my stint with football clubs in Goa I was invited to Cape Town, South Africa by a football enthusiast who had seen me play. In Cape Town I joined the African Soccer Development (ASD) Academy and played for three years in the Second Division of the South African Football Academy for the U-17 and U-19 League scoring seven goals. “Following the end of my contract with the ASD I went to Goa last December to take part in the Lusofonia Games 2014 and was on the winning side when India beat Mozambique 3-2 to win the gold.

“I was then selected for U-23 training camp where I got injured and since then has been recuperating from my injuries,” he said. About future plans, Brandon disclosed, “My club in South Africa is in touch with me for the renewal of the contract but right now I am eyeing the ISL (Indian Super League) which I feel is the best international platform to showcase my talent. However, I keep my fingers crossed and wait for an opportune time to make the next move. Speaking of his idol, Brandon says he has many, but Cristiano Ronaldo the Portuguese and Real Madrid forward stands tall among them — the footballer who lived in poverty, shared a room with his brother and sisters and went on to become one of the best soccer players the world has produced through sheer hard work, dedication and belief in God.

Brandon says what he is today is largely due to the dedication of his parents, particularly his father who has always been encouraging. When asked how he manages between soccer activities and school, he says, his teachers and the school had been very accommodative and kind enough to allow him to continue doing what he believes in. At times, he said, he answered only one exam during the entire scholastic year because he was either travelling with the Indian soccer team taking part in tournaments or attending coaching camps.

“I want continue my higher education although my aim in life is to reach the highest level of soccer and bring laurels for my State and country, encourage the youngsters and be a role model to them,” he added.
He said India does not lack soccer talent, but it is unfortunate the government has abandoned this sport. However, with the ISL a new hope has dawned on the horizon of a cricket-mad country. The Indian Super League is the name of a new, proposed football league in India by IMG-Reliance — a joint venture of IMG and Reliance Industries — and the All India Football Federation. It is set to kick-off in September 2014.

By Paul Francis X. Fernandes
Arab Times Staff


By: Paul Francis X. Fernandes

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