Always described as a team that loves being in the second division, Laxmi Prasad Sports Club has finally jumped out of its shell to silence the critics.
After earning promotion into the 1st Division League this season, the Mapusa-based team has immediately made way into next season’s Goa Pro-League. This is nothing less than a dream come true for the club. The team has managed to earn back to back promotions.
First, in 2012, the team made a leap from the second division to the first and now from first they are promoted to the competitive Goa Pro-League. The beauty of it all is that Laxmi Prasad have remained unbeaten throughout the two-season spell which may be considered as a record in itself.
A couple of years back, Laxmi Prasad were regarded as a team that was satisfied with the second division tag. The club has been in the second division league for a major portion of their 36 years of existence.
Laxmi Prasad featured in the Professional League several years back when the league was still called senior division league.
Today the club his making rapid strides toward achieving greater glory in Goan and Indian football. Besides just being unbeaten, Laxmi Prasad have defeated their opponents with big margins. The club has had a very consistent run unlike the past when they would settle for a couple of wins that would secure their place in the second division.
This major transition in their approach and performance has come only after the new management, headed by Mr Francis Viegas, popularly known as Franky, took over at the start of the previous season.
The club president has not only brought in financial stability but also technical balance. Coming from a rather low soccer background, Franky’s love and knowledge of the sport is unquestionable.
“I was always into football. I have been associated with Athletico de Parra and Tuff Veterans. I am a lover of football. I may not be a very good player but I know and understand the game more than any player can,” challenged Franky.
The Parra-based businessman has been a president who understands the needs of the players, coaching staff and management. So far, he hasn’t left any stone unturned in fulfilling the growing demands of his players. Franky revealed that the club had no realistic plans of getting promoted. “Since this was our first season in the first division league, we wanted to see how we progress. But slowly we realized that we are in the capacity to win then why not go for it?” Franky said.
From 14 games Laxmi Prasad has garnered 36 points which speaks of the team’s winning rate. Franky is very pleased with the progress of the team and is very generous in giving credit to his players, coach Valentino Eziko – a former Churchill Brothers players – and manager Mohan Satoskar. Franky also revealed that professional clubs like Sporting Clube de Goa, Dempo Sports Club, Wilred Leisure Sports Club and some clubs from Bardez have been of immense support in providing players and their expertise.
“We have managed to make a formidable team because of these clubs. We got together players from various clubs and finally the coach polished them into a fine tuned unit,” Franky explained.
He further went on to thank the management of Sangolda Lightning and Candolim Sports Club for allowing his team to practice at no cost.
Throughout this season, there have been some players who have performed consistently. Striker Alvito Miranda stands on top of the performance meter. The prolific striker has scored goals at an alarming rate which is nearly a goal per match. Midfielder Joelif Simoes along with skipper Steven Fernandes have held the midfield with utmost composure to ensure the game plan is executed well.
Manager Mohan Satoskar has been the mastermind behind the team’s success. Mohan shouldered the responsibility of identifying the players needed for the team and is satisfied they achieved what they needed despite several hiccups.
“It wasn’t an easy task. We approached many players; some responded well while some even ditched us at the last moment. But still we did well and I am very happy about it. Our goal was to promote young set of players and I think we managed to do that. I think the best promising player that we have from this campaign is Sangam,” Mohan said. Sangam Pednekar is a 20-year old lad from Siolim who has left the spectators surprised with his talent.
As disclosed earlier, the players of Laxmi Prasad come from various clubs. The task of getting them to gel together was of coach Valentine Eziko. The former Churchill Brothers player made some easy as well as harsh decisions in order to bring unity among the players.
Now, after waving goodbye to the first division, Laxmi Prasad move towards a bigger challenge – the Goa Pro League. But are they ready for it? “Not really. We are not financially prepared. We need to understand that there is no revenue in this football system, only lots of money to spend. If you want good players, you have to pay them well. We want to retain most of the players and many will also stay to my word,” Franky – as frank as he can get.
At the same time, Franky reveals that his club just does not want to feel the air of the Pro-League. “We want to be in the professional league for at least two seasons. If we get a sponsor then we definitely want to continue being there,” Franky concluded.
As the level gets higher, Laxmi Prasad will have to alter their plans accordingly. Can the Mapusa side make it three in a row? Well, anything is possible in football! [NT]