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Locals prefer Sunrisers over Hyderabad FC despite finishing bottom: Manolo Marquez

Manolo Marquez opened up about the footballing heritage of Goa and highlighted the contrasting football culture in Hyderabad.

Locals prefer Sunrisers over Hyderabad FC despite finishing bottom: Manolo Marquez

Manolo Marquez 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 Jun 2023 2:32 PM GMT

Manolo Marquez, the former coach of Hyderabad FC, opened up about his admiration for the rich footballing heritage of Goa and highlighted the contrasting football culture in Hyderabad. The Spaniard has joined the Gaurs as their new head coach ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season.

Goa, renowned for its picturesque beaches, has long been associated with a passionate footballing community. Boasting a plethora of legacy clubs, the state is one of the hotspot for football lovers seeking to immerse themselves in the sport's rich heritage.

"It surely is one of the reasons for coming here," Marquez remarked in an interview with FC Goa, acknowledging the allure of Goa's footballing traditions. While expressing his affection for the team he previously coached and his lifelong love for them, the Spanish coach lamented the limited interest in football among Hyderabadis.

"Sunrisers Hyderabad have always been finishing in the bottom two in the IPL, but local people prefer them over Hyderabad FC, who is fighting for the top of Hero Indian Super League," Marquez says, emphasizing the puzzling preference for the cricket team despite their poor track record.

Fan group of HFC

In a society where cricket enjoys immense popularity and fervent support, Marquez's admission may raise eyebrows among cricket enthusiasts. However, the Spanish coach remained resolute in his views, unabashedly proclaiming his lack of affinity for the sport.

"I know that maybe people will kill me, but sorry, I don't like cricket. It's the same as American football and baseball," he said.

Why FC Goa?

According to Manolo Marquez, FC Goa represents the pinnacle of footballing opportunities in India. He firmly believes that if one aspires to work in Indian football, FC Goa is the ideal choice. "This is a club I was very close to joining last season," Marquez revealed, shedding light on his previous interest with the Goan side.

For Manolo, understanding the true essence of football in India lies in Goa. He firmly stated, "If you want to know what football means in India, the best place is Goa." Marquez acknowledged a few exceptions, specifically Kerala, Kolkata, and Guwahati, which also hold significant footballing importance in the country.

FC Goa is regarded as one of the best Indian clubs, renowned for its exceptional academy and well-established grassroots system. The club diligently adheres to a distinct philosophy that permeates throughout all its age group teams, extending to the senior team as well.

"This is something we wanted to do in Hyderabad FC but it was impossible. The club had trials but not too many people showed up. Here in Goa things are different," Marquez added, highlighting the stark contrast between the situations in Hyderabad and Goa.

"The main target is to arrive in the first game of the Hero ISL in the best possible conditions. You can't promise anything because finally it comes down to a lot of things like injuries, suspensions, and other factors," added Manolo Marquez when asked about his main target for the first season at FC Goa.

Regarding what he would ask from the fans, Marquez expressed, "It's us, the team, who has to play good football. Then, they (the fans) would come. Before coming to India, I was told the stadiums are full. But it all comes down to the score."

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