Brazil football legend Zico arrived in Goa last evening with an eye on leading FC Goa to a title in the second edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Supporters turned up in huge numbers at the Dabolim International airport in Goa to receive the 62-year-old, who is regarded as one of the best playmakers of all time in football. Dressed in FC Goa colours, the cheers from the fans multiplied the moment Zico came out of the exit gate, along with the franchisee's co-owner and Goa-based businessman Dattaraj Salgaocar.
"I'm very happy to be back to Goa for the second season!" Zico said via FC Goa's official twitter feed.
Zico will now take note of all the new signings that his side have made this summer before deciding on who to pick from the domestic draft of ISL 2015, set to take place in Mumbai on 10 July.
None of the big-name players available in the domestic draft – including the likes of Robin Singh, Sunil Chhetri or Eugeneson Lyngdoh – fill the blanks present in the team roster. The current squad already has players who fill the positions the auctioned players ply their trade in.
However, according to the Times of India, FC Goa could be in line to bid for Bengaluru FC fullback Rino Anto as the existing two fullbacks – Narayan Das and Debabrata Roy – have no backup in the event of an injury. Anto commands the lowest base price of Rs 17.50 lakh in the auction list.
"Zico will have a closer look at the domestic requirements when he is in Goa and then finalise the shortlist. There are some exciting names in the domestic draft," said one official to the Indian daily.
The Goan franchise has spent approximately Rs 3 crore on their 11 domestic players so far, retaining the likes of Romeo Fernandes, Laxmikant Kattimani and Bikramjit Singh. They however still have space to accommodate two more domestic players from the ISL auction or the domestic draft on Friday.
Zico will not have any problems while going on a spending spree, as in this season of the ISL, each club are allowed to spend as much as Rs 5.5 crore. The salary cap for ISL 2015 for each franchisee is Rs 20 crore.
One domestic player must be a goalkeeper while two others should be under-23 players. FC Goa could opt for a under-23 goalkeeper to meet the developmental player requirement.
"It is now clear that we need one goalkeeper and a under-23 development player," FC Goa advisor PK Mukherjee said. "The focus will be on Goan players at the draft."
The Goa side take on Delhi Dynamos in their first game of the upcoming ISL on 4 October at the Fatorda Stadium.