Interview with Orlando Viegas

 In Grassroots

In his prime, Orlando Viegas was one of the finest footballers to have come out of the state. Blessed with pace, strength and the ability to use both feet, he had all the attributes to make it to the top of the footballing lists.

Having started his career with his local club Navelim SC, he went on to represent Dempo SC, Churchill Brothers, Vasco SC as well as representing Goa in the National Championships.

Unfortunately Viegas’ footballing journey is a tale of what might have been.  As football wasn’t developed as a professional sport back then, Orlando had to leave the game behind and move abroad to look after his family.

After spending 17 years in Dubai in business administration, he is now back in the game as Grassroots Development Director with FC Goa. We sit down with Orlando to know more about his goals and how he plans to put his immense experience to use.

FG: You have journeyed from a football player to a business administrator and now back to football. How has the transition been?

OV: After being a professional footballer for so long, you understand what the game lacks. With all my experiences of what I’ve gone through as a player, I know the drawbacks and the plus sides of the sport. So getting back to football and training kids wasn’t difficult. During my time, we did not have qualified coaches or proper training grounds. I’m trying to use my experience in both football and administration to give these kids the right facilities.

FG: What are the key lessons you took from your time as a footballer?

OV: For me it was always about discipline and how you manage your time. You have to prepare yourself for your practice session, with what you’re going to do on the pitch, with what you’re being expected to do and what you need to deliver. This goes for both players and the coach. I feel that discipline is a key factor because if you are disciplined with you routine, everything else like rest, nutrition will fall into place.

FG: What is the vision you have for the grassroot program?

OV: My vision would be to bring in discipline and create leaders within the youth team and the coaches.

FG: What are the changes that you want to see in the grassroot development system?

OV: I wish to improve our facilities. Right now we have just one training centre that’s comfortable for our players and that’s at Chowgule’s. I expect such facilities at every centre. It’s only when we improve our infrastructure that we can have better talent coming through. If the ground isn’t prepared well, then there’s the fear of injury and the players won’t be able to give their best.

I set myself quarterly targets and I also keep a plan B if things don’t work the way I want it to. I understand that not everything will work according to plan because we don’t have the infrastructure. We don’t have rest rooms, changing rooms and proper playing fields yet. If we have these three things, then things will improve. Without these three basic things we will only have quantity and not quality.

FG: You said your dream is to coach FC Goa one day, which former or current Goan player would be the first name on your team sheet?

OV: It would have to be Brahmanand in goal. As a child, we had just two footballer’s names on our mind. If you were an outfield player then you’d idolise Camilo (Camilo Gonsalves) and if you were a shot stopper then it would be Brahmanand.

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