The GFDC (Goa Football Development Council) seemed to have missed a key youngster in deciding the award for the Under-20 football player at their GIFT (Goa International Football Table ) summit to be held on March 15 and 16 at Marriot, Mira Mar.
The committee decided to present the U-20 award to promising player Mauvin Borges of Sesa Football Academy. He is, no doubt, a talented footballer, currently playing for his team in the AIFF’s Under-20 I-League football tournament in Jamshedpur and, as such Goa’s future star in the making.
However, if there is one Goan youngster who stands head and shoulder above the rest is Benaulim’s Brandon Fernandes, currently training in an elite academy in South Africa. The midfielder has been found to be an excellent material even for an English Premier League team in the future given his excellent progression in South Africa. He was selected for trials in London and there is every possibility that he could probably find a place in England in the not-so-distant future.
Brandon has donned colours for India, not once but several times in India’s U-13, U-14, U-16 and U-19 teams and was the cynosure in 13 countries where he played, especially lately in Iran.
Goan football experts, stated that the Indian junior international, known as the `Indian whizkid’, is currently the biggest thing in Indian football following a positive trial with Reading FC (two weeks), and then Leicester City FC (three weeks), but no offer was made by the clubs.
Brandon was spotted following his appearances in several Indian youth sides, and earned the distinction of training at Manchester United Academy and competing in the Manchester United `World Skills Final` where he was spotted by ASD Cape Town when he was just 16.
Brandon has been found to have superb technical ability with the ball when he was at a camp in Guimares in Portugal and later in an international tournament in Lisbon. His ball control, positioning and acumen for defense-splitting passes, sets him in a special class.
Brandon attended the trials at English Premier League outfit Reading FC, after touring Europe where he was watched by many scouts when he turned out against heavyweights like SC Braga, Deportivo La Coruna and KSC Lokeren. While at Reading, he trained with the developmental squad, took the field in one game and was credited with two assists of the three goals his side scored.
Brandon is currently training with ASD's SAFA 2 squad in Cape Town, SA, and that may be the reason why he was not considered for the award, since only the current under-20 players in Goa were considered. [H]