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ISL: Why James Donachie chose FC Goa — Gruelling competition, phone call with David Williams and more

ISL: Why James Donachie chose FC Goa — Gruelling competition, phone call with David Williams and more

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 6 Oct 2020 6:42 AM GMT

Australian defender James Donachie, who FC Goa have brought in on a season-long loan deal from A-League side Newcastle Jets, is relishing the prospect of turning out for the Gaurs in the Indian Super League (ISL) this season. The 27-year-old centre back attended a virtual press conference on Monday where he spoke about what attracted him to the project at Goa and how the move came about.

“I had a conversation with the Director of Football, Ravi Puskur, and he convinced me that the ISL would be the right place for me. There are seven foreign players allowed in every squad, it’s going to be a tightly fought league with back to back matches and he told me that I would definitely have my work cut out.

"I also had a conversation with David Williams a while back and he had said the same things about his time at ATK (now ATK Mohun Bagan). Of course, I dream of playing in Europe and the Premier League or even the Championship one day but I genuinely think playing in India can only be good for me and my career at the moment, as long as I can perform well and help the team win matches,” the tall defender said.

David Williams ATK Donachie had a chat with ATK Mohun Bagan's David Williams before signing (Source: ISL)

The fact that this year’s tournament will be hosted in a localised manner and inside a bio-bubble is also something that played a part in the player’s decision to come to India. So how did the move to FC Goa come about, especially after arriving at Newcastle Jets just this August?

“What impressed me was the professionalism the club showed and how quickly everything was sorted out. With the salary caps and reduced sponsorship money in the A-League, clubs there had less to spend on players’ wages and a lot of players like me were in dialogue with our clubs. Goa came in with an offer and within a week and a half everything was figured out. I’m waiting for my visa now and am hoping I can land in Goa as soon as possible,” he replied.

The former Melbourne Victory player is currently quarantining in Melbourne before flying down to India ahead of the start of the season. “I hope that I get at least three to four weeks to train with the squad. It would make the adjustment easier and help me get used to the way the club wants to play football.”

Asked whether he had seen FC Goa play before and how he would fit into the philosophy of Spanish Coach Juan Ferrando, the three-time A-League champion replied, “My agent in India sent me a few videos which were mostly goal compilations, but I liked what I saw. The team plays free-flowing football and having worked with Spanish coaches before in my career, I’m used to playing out from the back and am comfortable in possession.”


Having spent a season in South Korea, Donachie is no stranger to Asian conditions and knows it will take some time to adapt to his new surroundings and start communicating well with his fellow defenders at FC Goa.

However, he is hopeful that with the players that they have, they can challenge for the ISL title as well as compete against superior opposition in the AFC Champions League, a tournament where he has featured multiple times previously with Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar. “We have a good side and if we can give a good account of ourselves in the AFC Champions League it will be a huge deal for football in India. So I’m looking forward to that as well,” he signs off.

With a number of interesting signings made in the last few weeks, FC Goa finally look like a well-balanced outfit. After a summer exodus that has seen the likes of Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, Coro, Mandar Rao and Manvir Singh all depart the club and Hugo Boumous in line to follow suit, the signings of Igor Angulo, Alberto Noguera, Jorge Ortiz, Redeem Tlang, Ishan Pandita and now Donachie should make the fans feel optimistic about the new season. It now remains to be seen how new head coach Juan Ferrando can get the best out of the promising mix of domestic and foreign players that he has at his disposal once the season gets underway in November.

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