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Ex- E Bengal striker, Freddy, retires at 28

18 Aug 2009 | 12:00am IST

Ex- E Bengal striker, Freddy, retires at 28

PANJIM, AUG 17 In a somewhat surprising and sad move Goan striker Freddy Mascarenhas has called it a day . The 28-year-old has migrated to the Caribbean.

PANJIM, AUG 17 In a somewhat surprising and sad move Goan striker Freddy Mascarenhas has called it a day . The 28-year-old has migrated to the Caribbean. Cuncolim-village based striker Freddy Mascarenhas was the toast of the handful of Goa supporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, Kerala; when the state won the Santosh trophy in 2005 defeating Maharashtra in the final. Four years later, Freddy again featured in the Goa Santosh Trophy winning squad in Chennai, but had limited success. Football lovers from Goa and the rest of the country have effectively seen the last of the promising but inconsistent striker on the big stage. The tournament in Chennai which Goa won defeating West Bengal has now turned out to be his last national championship, as the 28-year-old former India striker has quit football and has since migrated to the Caribbean island of Bermuda. The six-foot plus striker made his India debut in 2006, as one of the players drafted into the Indian team by English coach Bob Houghton for the Vancouver trip, as the coach then, was on the lookout for tall players to play for the national team. the Cyprus-born English coach but could not make his way into the team.

First spotted by Levino Dias in the village level U-12 programs conceived and launched by Salcete FC under the guidance of the present All India Football Federation Secretary Alberto Colaco, he first played for Cuncolim Union U-15 team and later on for Salgaocar SC U-19 team under the present Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira.

A family tragedy, in the death of his mother through a road accident and family pressure almost made him quit football and plan for his migration. But fate had another things for him in store. St Anthony Club Colva, the Colva-based club which was then patronized by current Goa Tourism Minister, Francisco (Mickky) Pacheco convinced him to sign on the dotted line.

The next two seasons he signed for Salgaocar SC, but a road accident during the pre-season training meant he spend the entire first season recuperating from his injuries. He went on to don colours for Churchill Brothers, East Bengal Club and Sporting Clube de Goa.

He never lived up to the exceptional promise he showed as a young striker playing for his school team, Our Lady of Health when the Cuncolim school won the state level Subroto Mukerjee tournament, but he was the only one to graduate from school football to club and ultimately play for the country.

Freddy follows in the steps of yet another promising yet temperamental former Goa U-19 striker Wesley Coutinho hailing from Cuncolim in migrating overseas. Wesley played for two seasons for Raia Sporting Club as a U-20 player, and won a couple of man-of-match awards in his first season in the Goa Professional league in 2005-06, but quit professional football in 2007 and is now working for P & O Cruises, all at the age of 21.

Wesley was yet another striker who gave a torrid time for defenders in the aerial battle, Wesley also turned out as a loan player for now disbanded Fransa Pax Football Club in the National Football League now rechristened as the I-League. Last year at the start of the new season yet another striker Drupesh Dessai from Cuncolim was forever lost to football, on account of road accident. Drupesh who had excelled for two seasons for Churchill Bros as a U-20 player, had signed for Salgaocar Sports Club, but met with an accident which drastically changed his life and took him away from football.

If Cuncolim, tucked away 13 kilometers for the commercial capital of Goa, Margao has been producing a handful of quality players in the last five to six years it has been the fruits of the Youth Development Programmes which were funded by Cuncolim Association of Mumbai and implemented by a dedicated bunch of individuals like Philip Coutinho, Levino Dias, Zephyrus Mascarenhas and Dinesh Naik, as they have been missing the backing and enthusiasm of a few dedicated individuals who have moved away from Cuncolim football for varied reasons.

Sad to say, there has not been continuity in the Youth Development Programmes in Cuncolim and thus Mahesh Gawli now remains the only Cuncolim-based player who will be seen in action in the I-League this season.

Hopefully, Kennan Almeida, one of the players who made the trip to Manchester United along with a bunch of players from Goa steps up the gas to make the higher grade.

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