Panaji: FC Goa will travel to Dubai for pre-season next month and play friendlies against top teams ahead of the second season of Indian Super League.The Goan franchise of the Indian Super League will train in Dubai from September 1 and return on September 21.
Chief coach and Brazilian legend Zico initially wanted the team to train in European destinations like Austria or Germany but the management opted for Dubai where a number of teams have confirmed they are ready for pre-season friendlies.Significantly, Zico was in Dubai last month at the annual Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan sports tournament.
Last season, FC Goa played the likes of Sesa Football Academy and Vasco Sports Club, giving the coaching staff a wrong picture of the team's abilities. By the time Zico discovered the strength and weakness of each player, Goa were already languishing at the bottom of the table and it was only a spectacular comeback that helped them qualify for the semifinals with comparative ease.This time around, Zico will know the problem areas even before he lands in Goa. According to sources, FC Goa will play friendlies against superior teams in the UAE and one of them could include Al Shabab.
"Al Shabab has a Brazilian coach (Caio Junior) and FC Goa will almost certainly play a friendly against them," said one official.Al Shabab is among the top-ranked teams in the UAE Super League and finished third in the Arabian Gulf League. They defeated Al Seeb 4-3 on penalties to emerge champions in the GCC Clubs Championship trophy in Oman early this year and also made it to the final of President's Cup last season.