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Sports Facilities in Goa

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Sports Facilities in Goa

Just like all the other fields, Goans excel in many areas of sports as well. Games like Football, Cricket, Hockey, Tennis, Athletics, Racquet sports and an array of water sports are very popular in the state. There are many famous sportsmen in the country that have their origins from the state of Goa. Menino Figuereido is the first Goan native to play for India in the sport of Football in 1963 on the goodwill tour of Russia. However, some say that since this was not an official tour for the country, therefore, the first Goan to have represented India in Football is Visitacao Lobo in 1970.

Many Goans have made a memorable and a powerful mark in the field of sports in India. Most of them have even represented the country by playing in Mumbai and rising at the domestic level, thus receiving international caps. Some popular names like Bruno Coutinho, Roberto Fernandes and Mauricio Afonso have even captained the country’s’ senior national football team, while Lawrence Gomes and Seby Antao have captained the country’s’ junior national soccer team.

Football in Goa

Goa is probably the only state in the country that is not obsessed with cricket. Rather, football is so popular over here that almost every third Goan plays football either on the local, state or national level. Football is practically embedded in the culture of Goa. It was initially introduced in the state when one of the visiting Irish priests Fr. William Robert Lyons made this sport a part of the Christian education.

Goa Football Association

Associação de Futebol de Goa was formed on 22nd December 1959, which was later changed to Goa Football Association (GFA) with senior football administrator, Elvis Gomes as current president. It is main state governing body of football over here and is affiliated to All Indian Football Federation (AIFF).

Did You Know?
The first Goan State League was conducted in 1959 under the name of Goa First Division. Clube Independente de Margao became the first champions in Goa
In 1969, the association then began the Goa Senior League, which was initially supposed to the first division in the state, however it was later dissolved. For the season during 1970-71, GFA divided the First Division into two parts namely – North Division and South Division and for the 1971-72 season, GFA later introduced a Second and a Third Division.

In 1977, GFA then started the Goa Super Division where Salgaocar S. C. became the champions. As football started gaining a lot of national importance, Goa Football Association decided to up their game by going professional. It was the first ever state to go professional in the country.

The Goa Football Association then refurbished the National State League by starting the Goa Professional League in 1997. By 2000-2001, the league was then expanded to six teams after carefully evaluating the competitiveness factor and by 2002; the league was extended to an eight team league making it fourteen matches for each club. Finally, in 2011, the GFA announced that ten teams, namely, Calangute Association, Churchill Brothers, Dempo, Goa Velha, Laxmi Prasad, Salgaocar, Santa Cruz Club of Cavelossim, SESA, Sporting Goa and Vasco, would play during this years’ season.

Goa, West Bengal and Kerala are the few states in India that form the locus of football in this country and is also home to several India’s I – League football clubs. Various Goans have even represented the country in football with 6 of them - Samir Naik, Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, Climax Lawrence, Mauricio Afonso, Roberto Fernandes and Bruno Coutinho even captaining the Indian team.

Força Goa – Indian Super League

Football in Goa

Founded on 13th April 2014, Força Goa is one of the eight teams in the Indian Super League Football Franchise. It is co-owned by famous cricketer Virat Kohli, Venugopal Dhoot, Shrinivas Dempo and native businessman Dattaraj Salgaocar. Arthur Antunes Coimbra, also known as Zico, the well-known Brazilian Football player, is the team’s first manager and head coach. The club plays all its home matches at Fatorda Stadium in Margao, South Goa while training at Tilak Maidan in Vasco De Gama.

With the famous Bollywood actor, Varun Dhawan as a brand ambassador, Força Goa was the first Indian sports team to initiate a satellite TV Channel on Videocon D2H called FC Goa TV. Moreover, on 20th September 2014, the team announced that the Arsenal legend – Robert Pires had joined their club as a marquee player.

As of 15th October 2014, the current members of the club include Jan Seda, Debabrata Roy, Narayan Das, Rowilson Rodrigues, Youness Bengelloun, Peter Carvalho, Robert Pires, Alwyn George, Miguel Herlein, Edgar Marcelino, Holicharan Narzarym Bikramjit Singh, Gabriel Fernandes, Grégory Arnolin, Bruno Pinheiro, Mandar Rao Desai, Zohib Islam Amiri, Romeo Fernandes, Miroslav Slepicka, Laxmikant Kattimani, Prabir Das, Jewel Raja, Clifford Miranda, Ranti Martins, Tolgay Ozbey, Andre Santos and Pronay Halder.

Cricket in Goa

Even though Cricket is not as popular as Football in Goa, it is still a very important sport in the state. As of 2013, the Goa Cricket Team has played 144 times in the Ranji Trophy with 13 wins and 72 losses. Dr. Rajendra Prasad Stadium (built in 1954) in Margao and the District Institute of Education and Training Ground in Porvorim serve as the home ground for the cricket team. The famous Fatorda Stadium in Margao has also started hosting some international cricket matches in Goa. The state governing body for cricket in Goa is known as the Goa Cricket Association (GCA), affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Quick Facts: The cricket team is Goa has taken part in the foremost Ranji Trophy in the country since the season of 1985 – 86. However, they lost all the matches in the first season and did not score a win till the season of 1996-97 by defeating Karnataka.





Hockey in Goa

Here are some native Goans who have played the sports of Hockey on an international level during their career –
  • Peter Paul Fernandes (Olympics for India 1936 and Olympics for Pakistan 1948)
  • Lawrie Fernandes (Olympics 1948)
  • Walter D’Souza (Olympics 1948)
  • Maxie Vaz (Olympics 1948)
  • Reginald Rodrigues (Olympics 1948)
  • Michael Pereira (Olympics 1956)
  • Vece Paes (Olympics 1972)
  • Mervyn Fernandes (Olympics 1980)
  • Marcellus Gomes (Atlanta Olympics).

Water Sports in Goa

Being a popular beach destination in India, there is no doubt that all types of water sports are very popular in the state. The National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) in Panaji is the apex institution responsible for researching, consulting, training and educating on all areas related to water sports such as life saving, sailing, water skiing, boat handling, wind surfing, scuba diving, kayaking and river rafting. Established in July 1990, NIWS is a sponsored autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism of India.

The organization has two main buildings – one, an 18 acre beach side plot in Panaji and another training ground at Caranzalem, both complete with modern water sports equipment. The institution handles a range of services including advising state government agencies on safety norms, organizing water sports awareness, water safety campaigns, preparation of feasibility studies and inspection of water sports centers to training them

Goa is renowned for its beaches and different types of water sports offered over there. There are many beaches in the state that offer water activities for the visitors filled with lots of fun and excitement. Some famous water sports in Goa include parasailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, skibob, kayaking, yachting, water-scooter, motorboat rides and snorkeling. Anjuna, Calangute, Mober, Miramar, Palolem and Vagator Beach are some of the popular beaches for water activities in Goa.

Scuba Diving

A popular water sport in Goa, Scuba Diving is the perfect way to explore the beautiful marine life of the state. Scuba Diving gives you the opportunity to go into the depths of Goan waters and discover attractive coral heads, colorful fish, crabs, lobsters and other sea life. It is advisable to always take a partner while scuba diving and taking proper lessons before attempting the sport.

Famous Water Sports in Goa


Scuba Diving Places
Most scuba diving activities take place near the coast of Vasco De Gama town, around Grande Island. Some of the most popular sites for scuba diving are Suzy’s Wreck, Sail Rock, Davy jones Locker, Surge City, Turbo Tunnel and Bounty Bay.

Water Skiing

For visitors who love speedboats but want to try something more adventurous than that, Water Skiing is the perfect water sport for you. The boats run at the speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour and can carry six to eight people. However, one needs to be an exceptionally good swimmer to try water skiing, as the chances of falling into the water are very high.

Famous Water Sports in Goa


Water Skiing places
Beaches like Candolim, Calangute, Mobor, Arossim, Rajbagh and Utorda offer as great places for water skiing.

Para Sailing

The thrill of viewing Goa from above the ground is a completely different experience. Also known as Para Ascending, this water sport gives you the bird’s eye view of the Goa and its beaches. However, one has to be completely comfortable with heights to try this water sport.

Parasailing Places
Beaches like Candolim, Mobor, Anjuna, Majorda, Baga and Dona Paula Beach offer some of the best Parasailing in the state.

Dinghy Sailing

Dinghy Sailing is the latest and the most upcoming water sport in Goa and the dinghy’s are available at Taj Holiday Village and Cidade De Goa for hire. This water sport is perfect for those people who love parasailing but are afraid of heights. The dinghy’s are about 15 feet in length and can easily accommodate three to four people. Since Dinghy Sailing does not have much speed, it is perfect for those who are not so adventurous and want to enjoy water sports with families.

Famous Water Sports in Goa


Dinghy Sailing Places
Available at all famous beaches of North and South Goa

Banana, Bump and Bingo Rides

Another popular water sport in Goa, Banana Rides are very famous among kids. It is really exciting to sit on a banana shaped boat, which is then towed by a motorboat rolling over the vivacious sea waves of Goa. Be prepared to be dumped into the water at the end of the ride as it adds a little bit of a thrill for beginners. Since, everyone will be wearing life jackets, even if you don’t know how to swim, banana rides are very safe.

Famous Water Sports in Goa


Banana, Bump and Bingo Rides
The water sport is available on all the major beaches of North and South Goa.

Wind Surfing

Another popular water sport in Goa, Wind Surfing is the perfect combination of surfing and sailing. It requires the surfer to quickly balance his body according to the constantly changing currents of water and air. Perfect for adventurous people, wind surfing is ideal for those who know how to balance their body on water. However, if it is your first time trying then it is best to learn the sport through an expert before trying it on your own.

Famous Water Sports in Goa

Wind Surfing Places
Dona Paula Beach is one of the best beaches in Goa to try wind surfing for the first time as the environment over there, early in the morning, is similar to that of a lake. Experienced Wind Surfers can visit the beach during afternoons when the winds are much more strong. Other beaches such as Calangute, Colva, Palolem, Baga, Vagator, Miramar and Bogmalo are also considered good spots to try wind surfing.


Stadiums in Goa

Fatorda Stadium

Stadiums in Goa

Also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, this is the main multi-purpose stadium in the state, located at Margao and hosts a number of football matches along with some cricket matches as well. It is the only international stadium in Goa with a seating capacity of 24,500 people. Established in 1989, Fatorda Stadium is owned and managed by Sports Authority of India. The stadium was recently upgraded to match the latest FIFA specifications. Various services at the stadium include Broadcast room, arena lighting, natural turf, TV studio, Match delegates area, Player dressing rooms, medical rooms, dope control rooms, media working stations, mixed zone areas, press conference areas, multipurpose gymnasium, parking facilities and a swimming pool. Fatorda Stadium is considered as one of the most well kept stadiums in the country.

The stadium has always been a foundation for Indian Football and has even hosted a number of international games such as India’s qualifiers for AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup. The stadium is also home to many prime Goan clubs including FC Goa, Churchill Brothers S.C., Dempo S.C., Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar S.C. Even though the stadium was initially built to cater to only football games, however, recently it started hosting some international cricket matches as well.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Stadium

Built in 1954, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Stadium is the only stadium in Goa that specifically caters to cricket matches. Situated in Margao, it is also the home ground of the Goan Cricket Team with a capacity of 5000 people. The first match that was played over here was in 1967-68.

Tilak Maidan Stadium

Located in the town of Vasco De Gama, Tilak Maidan Stadium is another popular multi-purpose stadium in Goa, used mainly for football matches including I – League and Goan League. It is maintained by the Sport Authority of Goa with a capacity of 12,000 people. Moreover, just like Fatorda Stadium, this one has also been renovated to match the FIFA specifications. Tilak Maidan Stadium is mainly used by Dempo, Churchill Brothers, Salgaocar, FC Goa and Sporting Clube de Goa as a training ground.

Duler Stadium

Located in Mapusa, Duler Stadium is owned by Goa Football Association (GFA). It has the seating capacity of 8000 people and was the former home ground of the I – Leaguers who participated in the highest level of football in India.

International Sports Activities in Goa

Lusofonia Games in Goa 2014

International sporting activities in Goa

The 3rd Lusofonia Games, a multi sport event that only takes place in Portuguese speaking countries and territories, took place in Goa from 18th January 2014 to 29th January 2014. The Chairman of Lusofonia Games 2014 was the ex- chief minister of Goa – Manohar Parrikar and the CEO was the secretary to the Government of Goa for Sports and Education – Keshav Chandra (IAS). These games were initially supposed to be held in 2013 however they were postponed to 2014. Due to this, Brazil, the biggest player in Lusofonia Games, did not send any their athletes. Only seven Brazilian athletes, independent of the organization of Brazil, participated in these games in Goa. These games had 97 medals for 9 sports, namely, Athletics, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Football, Judo, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Wushu and Volleyball.

Asian Beach Games

International sporting events in Goa

The Asian Beach Games is a multi-sport event that is held every two years representing athletes from various countries from Asia. These games are controlled by Olympic Council of Asia, with the first ever event held in Bali, Indonesia in 2008.

The games cater to a number of beach sports such as para gliding, beach water polo, marathon swimming, Beach athletics, beach football, beach handball, beach kabaddi, beach soccer, beach volleyball, beach woodball, beach wrestling, bodybuilding, dragon boat, sailing, surfing, jet skiing, water skiing and so on.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has been successful in getting the rights to host the 2018 Asian Beach Games, which will take place in Goa.

Also See: Sports Facilities in Panaji
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