FC Goa’s Ishan Pandita: I’m ready to compete with anyone

The former Leganes striker has admitted pressure to perform but is confident in his abilities…

Ishan Pandita is confident about exceeding expectations ahead of his maiden stint in India after signing a one-year deal with FC Goa.

The Gaurs, who will compete in the Indian Super League (ISL) and the AFC Champions League this season, have revamped their squad following the appointment of new head coach Juan Ferrando.

“I am completely new to Asia and India and I’m excited. I’m fast and strong, and I’m a good finisher with both my feet. One of my biggest strengths would be that I’m good with both feet,” he told reporters via a web interaction on Wednesday.

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“I think the fact that I am coming here with such a big name and I have seen the stuff people are writing, I do feel that there is going to be added pressure but I’m not worried about that. I’m just going to do my best and hopefully perform to my best level,” he added.

The 22-year-old was the first Indian player to sign a professional contract with a Spanish first division side in CD Leganes in 2016 where he represented the club’s U-19s in the Division de Honor Juvenil which is the highest level of the youth football system in Spain.

Having started his Spanish sojourn with Almeria’s U-18 side in 2014 and after turning up for the likes of Pobla de Mafumet and Lorca in Spain’s Tercera Division, Pandita revealed what led him to return to India.

“Spain was getting a bit complicated for me personally with the whole COVID-19 situation and it was getting a bit difficult for me to find a team at a very good level. Then this opportunity of FC Goa popped up. I spoke to the coach – Juan [Ferrando] – and it was a good talk. They were interested in taking me and I liked the ideology of the coach and his method of play. That made me come back home (India).

Ishan Pandita

“Goa is one of the best places to play football in India. The Spanish coach and the Spanish signings that they have made and the fact that they are also playing in the AFC Champions League this year is what made me go for Goa,” he explained.

Ishan had interest from ATK, East Bengal, Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters before he chose Goa. “What made me think [about] Goa, to be honest, was [because] the coach was very interactive with me and I didn’t get that attention from any other club – the way I did from Goa,” he further reasoned.

With Igor Angulo leading the frontline of FC Goa’s attack, the Bangalore-based striker is confident of his own capabilities.

“I can play on the wing as well if the coach needs me to. Whatever the formation the coach wants me to play in, I am an attacking player and I know that I have some big competition out there. 

“I am here to compete with whoever I have to. I have been competing with Spanish players since I was 16. So it’s the same thing when I come back home (India) and I’m ready. I’m going to compete and give my best but at the end of the day it’s the coach’s choice,” Pandita concluded.


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