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My friend Brahmanand
A story by Agnelo Gomes. Insights provided by his friend in Goa of Goan
Those were the wonderful days during Portuguese era Estudantes (students)
used to live at Lar de Estudantes and attend classes at Liceu in Pangim.
I was also part of that process.
Students played for
Academica, a team whose uniform was black, and had won Goa league
championship without fielding Portuguese Pakhles. Quite a few students
also played for Sporting Clube de Goa, in the second division - a team
coached by great Pe. Chico Monteiro.
I was a supporter of Academica to which most of the good Lar de Esudantes
players graduated. The team was then managed by late Dr. Remigio Pinto and
Bento Fernandes. Academica was relegated to the Second Division at
the end of the season in 1967-68. Both Dr.Pinto and Bento worked hard to
promote Academica to its excellence.
The same year Panvel (the name derives from Panvelim in Sao Pedro,
adjoining village of Ribandar) was promoted to the First Division in place
of Academica. It was managed then, by Mr. Krishna Bandodkar and his son
Laximikant Bandodkar. At the end of 1968-69 Panvel too was demoted, but to
the First Division as the old First had been renamed Senior.
Dhempe college had won the inter-collegiate tournament for the first time,
and the boys were so enthused to continue as a team in the Second
Division. The idea was born at Dhempe college to field a team later called
At the end of 1969-70 Panvel (now kitted in black as my favourite
Academica used to) was back in First Division. Now begins the story of
Brahmanand - in 70-71.
Mr. Brahmanand comes from a good Goan Hindu Brahmin family; his father was
Seguna Camotim Sancoalcar, part owner of Casa Lusitana a liquor wholesaler
Three other brothers of Brahmanand, all elder to him - Guru, Vallabh and
Ramesh were also football players. Vallabh had played for Academica and
Santa Inez, and was playing for Panvel in 1970-71, but had already begun
losing his place in the first eleven and not happy about it.
Panvel had two goalies - Shankar Verlekar of Santa Cruz and Ulhas Shetye
of Assonora (the latter now an MLA). Panvel had lost all nine
matches of the first leg of the First Division.
Panvel had agreed to play a feast day match on 01 January 1971 at Saligao.
It was difficult getting eleven players that day - both goalkeepers
had taken ill, one with fever and the other with jaundice.
A friend of mine had gone to Taleigao to remind Vallabh to come play but
he declined giving some excuse or the other. Just across the road was
Dr.Remigio's house and my friend popped in for a chat and told him about
the difficulties he was facing that day getting together a team and a
Dr. Remigio Pinto suggested to my friend that he ask Vallabh's younger
brother Boli (petname) to play in the goalkeeper's position. "He's
good" Dr.Pinto said, and "I have often explained to him the
theory of marking angles". So back my friend went to Vallabh who
agreed to send Boli for the match.
My friend can still recall as they assembled near the Panjim ferry point
go to Saligao, this tall and gawky kid with a bundle wrapped in oldnewspapers approaching him and asking "Are you Botelho ? Vallabh sent
We played him, we lost the match 2-1 to Saligao, but Brahmanand did a
decent job - nothing extraordinary, but no complaints.
Almost a fortnight later the Senior Division second leg was to re-start
and we still had no goal-keeper fit to play. My friend remembered Boli,
went to his father - He needed his permission as Boli(Brahmanand) was born
in 1954 and therefore was still underage - got it, went to Progress High
School where he was studying and got his documents for registration.
In the afternoon at the Police grounds, several of the Panvel players who
had not seen him at Saligao, refused to even kit up saying they would not
play without a proper goal-keeper. It was quite a job convincing them.
The match against Goa Shipyard started, incredibly we were up 2-0 in 10
minutes, then Shipyard struck back before half time with two corner kicks
and it was 2-2. Boli(Brahmanand) was still not used to defending corner
In the second half he stopped everything and as Shipyard out of
desperation began sending up defenders to increase the pressure Panvel
started hitting goals on the counter-attacks. It was 6-2 in the dying
seconds in favour of Panvel, when defender Gurudas Surlicar scored a
spectacular self goal against Brahmanand - final score 6-3.
Panvel never looked back thereafter - beat MCC(Margao Cricket Club) 6-2,
Merces 4-0, Police 2-1, drew with Salgaocar 1-1 before the league was
abandoned as Vasco and Sesa were playing in Kerala and unable to return to
The next two years 71-72 and 72-73 Brahmanand gained confidence as Panvel
went twice to the 5th spot in the Goa league - but at the end of the first
year he had failed First Year Science, and the next year failed again. He
came to my friend to say that he was giving up football and concentrating
By then he was really good, but the big clubs were still not interested in
him. The only way to keep him going was my friend's offer to make him
captain of the team in 73-74 - and Panvel went on to win the Bandodkar
Gold Trophy, to this day the only amateur team to do so. And I still
Then Brahmanand joined Salgaocar in 74-75, was selected for Junior India,
and by 1980 was selected for Senior India. He fractured his arm in a clash
with Mr. Rosario Antao during a camp and almost everyone wrote him off.
They did not take into account his will power and that he would recover
and go back to his old form.
The Bengali domination ensured he did not get a place in the first eleven,
including the Asian Games in 1982.
Panvel had been wound up way back in 1977 due to rising costs and
their inability to meet the kit requirements after the death of then CM
My friend was already more involved with the Goa Football Association, but
for years his suggestion that Boli (Brahmanand) be made captain had been
defeated at Committee meetings and Goa used to lose in the finals or semi
Finally in 1983 committee agreed and we shared the trophy with Bengal in
Calcutta - at those times it rated as a victory. In 1984 we repeated the
victory, but outright, beating Punjab in the finals at Madras again with
Boli as captain.
In the intervening period Boli was made captain of India in 1983 for the
Nehru Cup at Cochin.
Besides credits to late Dr.Remigio Pinto's influence to mould Brahmanand
into an extraordinary goalkeeper of Goa and India ever produced, there was
also influence to his success credited to Mr. Peter Thangaraj the great
Indian goalkeeper of the sixties, who was coach-cum-player for Vasco Club
in the seventies, and Arun Ghosh the then current Director of the Tata
Football Academy at Jamshedpur, one of the greatest stopper India
Subsequently he passed through many Indian and foreign coaches in the
plethora of camps he attended, but doubtful if there was anything more
they did to improve his goalkeeping skills after what Thangaraj and Ghosh
had groomed him.
He continued his career with Salgaocar until 1991, when his request to
attend a FIFA coaching course at Kuala Lumpur for which he had been
selected was rejected by the management, and since then he insisted that
he was removed from the team and asked to report to his office job.
He joined Churchill Brothers, and with Churchill Alemao in power then as a
minister he was absorbed as an employee in the Sports Authority of Goa
(SAG) of which he is now an Assistant Director.
He then played two years for Anderson Marine in the Senior Division to
complete a record of 25 continuous seasons in the First/Senior Divisions
and retired from active playing four years ago.
Last year 1999 he played for the Goa veterans team which won the Soccer
World Cup organized by Goans International, Olavo Menezes, Rene Barreto
and Milton Rodrigues, and sponsored by Agnelo Gomes Associates, USA.
He has also coached Anderson Marine and Salcete F.C.. Last year he was
goal-keeping coach for the Senior India team.
Mr. Brahmanand is a gentleman, married to his childhood sweetheart, and
has two daughters.
I wish Goa had more players with his qualifications on the field, of the
heart and mind, and honesty.