ISL 2019-20: The rise of Brandon Fernandes at FC Goa
The midfielder has been impressive in an advanced role for the Gaurs and his stats this season speak for themselves. He has two goals and six assists to his name and has made more than two key passes per game.
Ever since his first season with the Goan franchise back in 2017, Fernandes has been a regular fixture in the starting XI and was mostly deployed as a left-sided attacking midfielder. With his wide passing range and intelligence, he has been integral to the team’s success.
Going into the play-offs now, Fernandes’ six assists is the highest for an Indian and he is only behind team-mate Hugo Boumous (10) in that particular tally.
He is a threat with his set-piece deliveries as well and is widely considered one of the better ball-playing midfielders in India. It was no surprise to see Brandon Fernandes handed his India debut after his improved displays on the pitch year in and year out.
India head coach Igor Stimac brought him into the fold for the King’s Cup in June 2019 where the Goan made his national team debut. Since then, Brandon has nailed down the central midfield spot for the Blue Tigers.
From the time he joined FC Goa, the number of successful passes and crosses Fernandes has raked up has risen considerably. In the first year, from 15 appearances, he recorded 18 crosses and 548 passes that accounted towards four assists.
In season 2018-19, he made 18 appearances to muster 37 crosses and 725 passes to remain near the top 10 assists providers with four assists. This season, from 16 games so far, he has played in 41 crosses and 841 passes already.
He has developed an impeccable control over the ball which lets Stimac use him in a versatile role deeper in midfield or towards the attacking third. No doubt the stability of the core team at FC Goa has also helped his cause.
To his credit, Brandon’s fitness has improved considerably from his time at Churchill Brothers and that has helped him remain injury free, which has only seen his stock rise.
Now, as FC Goa get ready to take on Chennaiyin FC in the ISL play-offs, Brandon will no doubt play a huge role in playing the ideal foil for Hugo Boumous and Ferran Corominas.
Can the 25-year-old help Goa land that elusive ISL title? The coming weeks will tell.