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Home Football ISL 2020-21: Can Hyderabad FC's Liston Colaco be a long-term replacement for...

ISL 2020-21: Can Hyderabad FC’s Liston Colaco be a long-term replacement for Sunil Chhetri?

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When the 21-year-old Goan kid slammed in his second goal against NorthEast United FC, he knew he had arrived in the Indian Super League (ISL), finally.

For long, Liston Colaco had had to warm the benches, waiting for his opportunity. But no more. His celebration said it all. And while he celebrated, Indian football fans rejoiced as well — cause, in Liston they might have found their next national hero!

In fact, if it all works out, Liston might just fill up the void that Sunil Chhetri’s imminent retirement would leave behind in the national team. After all, Chhetri is not getting any younger and he has admitted that.

A forward who has a penchant for cropping up from nowhere and scoring goals, Liston shone in the age group tournaments with Salgaocar FC. He even took the team to the final of the AIFF U-18 tournament four years back before being picked up by FC Goa.

However, despite impressing in the youth teams and breaking into the senior team, he barely got a chance to show his talent on the pitch. Liston played a total of 51 minutes with his former club FC Goa.

So, when the opportunity came calling from Hyderabad FC, he did not think twice. “Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time at Goa,” the youngster tells The Bridge in an exclusive interaction. “I will always be thankful to the management and all my coaches for having me, I have learnt a lot there but I was lacking game time. I kept working hard but when my agent told me about the offer from HFC, I was really keen to join them. I came to know that the coach likes me and wants me in his team.”

It has been a short yet good experience here as I have got chances to play more and I am happy with the way things have worked out so far and like I said, I will keep working hard and try to earn as much game time as I can.”

Since he joined on a two year deal on January 14, 2020, Liston has played a total of 227 minutes for Hyderabad FC. He even managed to score twice in his team’s 5-1 victory over the Highlanders in the last match of the season.

When asked about his form, Liston says in a humble manner, “It’s been a good run here so far, I joined the club mid-season and everyone at the club helped me a lot to settle down, they made me feel like home from day one.

Under Albert Roca, Hyderabad have big plans for the upcoming season. They are already strengthening their squad and if rumours are to be believed, they are going all out in a bid to win the ISL title next season. Roca, on his part, is a coach of pedigree and is known for having an eye and developing Indian talent.

And, unsurprisingly, Liston is excited at the prospect of playing under the former Bengaluru FC coach. “I am really looking forward to working with coach Roca. The good part for me is that he has a similar style of coach (Sergio) Lobera and we all have seen how BFC performed under him. I am actually excited for the next season to start.

Liston was recently called up for the national team camp by Igor Stimac but it was cancelled due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. But the young forward is not deterred, he says, “Staying fit, working hard is my target right now. As for next season, I want to help my team in whatever way possible and hopefully, we will make it to the playoffs.”

“It’s my dream to don the national team jersey and score goals. I also aspire to join some European club and spend some time and learn as much as possible. Let’s see,” he signs off with a smile.

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