After a short break, Goa's Santosh Trophy squad commenced their training at three venues - Bambolim Sports Complex, Ela Ground, Holy Trinity Ground, Benaulim.
The final rounds of the national football championship will be played in Odisha from February 10-20. The semifinals, third-place playoff and final will be played in Saudi Arabia.
Defending champions Kerala were placed in Group A, alongside Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Goa. The hosts for the final round of the tournament, Odisha are also placed in Group A. Group B consists of the previous edition's runners-up Bengal, Manipur, Delhi and Meghalaya as well as the two direct entrants, Services and Railways.
"It was good for everyone, the players and the coaches, to get a brief break before returning to the camp," said Norberto Gonsalves, head coach of the Goa State team. “I feel everyone will be refreshed and ready to take on the new challenges that lie ahead for us all."
“For sure, we are going to give it our very best and prepare once again. We have a very good team, and we have already known that. Now it’s a matter of taking that forward," he stated.
The Goa gaffer stressed the importance of having a mix of experienced and young players in the squad, including those that have played in the I-League and the Indian Super League. “We have a mixture of youth and experience in our team; players that have played at the senior level as well. So I am sure the boys will give their 100 per cent and the results will follow,” he said.
Gonsalves shared his thoughts on the team’s performance in the preliminary stage. “I think the boys played well. We were ready from day one. Our vision is clear; we want to become champions and so my boys have prepared for that," said Gonsalves.
Goa suffered a twin blow as two of the team's regulars, Stendly Fernandes and Liston Cardozo have been ruled out from the squad due to a wrist injury and hamstring injury, respectively, they sustained in a friendly match against FC Goa.