CHENNAI: There was a moment when it seemed Zico was going to cut loose. The question was on the standard of refereeing in Indian Super League so far. The FC Goa boss paused, as if taking a moment to consider whether to take the bait or not, and then mumbled something to the translator sitting next to him. “I don’t want to talk about it. Sometimes when we talk, we get letters.”
The Brazilian icon did not mince words when discussing his vision for Indian football. “The ISL and I-League need to merge. It’s not good for Indian football otherwise,” he said, addressing the media ahead of his team’s game against Chennaiyin FC. “Right now ISL clubs can’t qualify for the AFC Champions League. Last year, FC Goa did great work and generated support in Goa. Then in January, we went away and there was nothing. The players went back to their teams.”
“I would like to see one strong league. We can follow the rules of the Asian federation — three foreign players and one Asian,” he added.
Goa suffered a humiliating defeat when Marco Materazzi’s men visited Fatorda Stadium, but Zico maintains past is past. “There is no feeling of revenge. We came here for three points. We are here for a result that can help us finish among the top four.”
While he admitted that he remains wary of John Stiven Mendoza who fired a hat-trick past his defence, Zico claims that Goa have no special plans for him. “Mendoza is a good player, very fast and had a great game against us. I had told our players to take special care of him and Elano, but we did not succeed. We don’t have any special plan for Mendoza now.”.
Zico sounded more worried about his team’s inability to score. “My biggest regret is that we have created chances, but have not been able to finish them off. Even when we have scored, sometimes they have not been given to us,” he said.