Not they needed a stamp of approval, but it helps. The Gaur Army of spirited FC Goa fans are an official supporters group of Goa’s most loved club across any sport and on April 9 (three days ago) they celebrated their first anniversary of recognition
Their tongue-in-cheek chants, the vibrant gaur band Led by its mascot Gaurdinho and their ubiquitous presence make them loudest, most loyal supporters of our Gaurs. It is undoubtedly “FC Goa’s 12th Man in the stands’ and with a good reason, because irrespective of the venue or the weather, the army always shows for their favorite team.
The Supporters club was born in 2018 Indian Super League season, Founding Member of Gaur army, Sidharth Mehta said the club was formed because of four passionate FC Goa Team Fans who bumped into each other at the home game at Fatorda. “We met each other regularly during the earlier stages of ISL games. We all hailed from different parts of Goa and for the away game last season against Pune FC we decided to gather and unite as many goans as possible and sit in large numbers to drum up support to our team and develop an away fan culture. Since then there was no looking back, we were the first and only supporters club to reach out to back the Gaurs at Jamshedpur, New Delhi and Bhubaneshwar where no other supporters club reached in last five years.
Because of its long-standing existence, the Gaur Army has developed strong ties with the FC Goa management who gave them the opportunity to become the official Supporters club in 2018- 19 season. But following the team everywhere can be tough on the heartstrings ( and at times the purse strings) as well, because sometimes, victory isn’t ours. But no matter the outcome of the game, gaur army members never fail to show their devotion towards the team.
Another football enthusiast and founding member of the Gaur Army, Conrad Barreto says “When the team loses, they need our support the most and this is where we are valued the most by players. Last year when FC Goa lost the Semi Final against Chennai, with tears in the eyes; Gaur Army members stood up- loud and proud- with prominent banners like “we will bounce back Stronger” And “win or lose we love you FC Goa”. That moment was heart touching as players walked towards us and gave away their jerseys. This gave goose bumps to all supporters.
20-year-old Ronaldo Rebello from Cuncolim says “Over the past year we have seen a definite shift in fan mentality and loyalty towards the team. Fans now support the team to the last minute, gone are the days when fans used to speak in a bad language over a loss.
ISL host and TV Anchor Leeza Mangaldas, speaking on the supporters club anniversary said “Gaur Army is on a year full of incredible passion, energy and love. The atmosphere in Goa is unmatched in Goa because of the Gaur Army.”
Sports Anchor Anant Tyagi quoted saying “Gaur Army creates incredible atmosphere at the Fatorda with Gaurdinho, Gaur band which is absolutely fantastic and also travelled with Gaurs at away game and sung loud and Proud
And there’s something- obviously- for the girls. The gaur army has a women’s wing. Several girls and parents of players join the women’s wing to drum up support for the Gaurs. Recalling her experience Xanisha Fernandes from Candolim says “ Gaur Army is like our family which has given recognition to Goa across the football fraternity of India. We are welcomed with open arms by local fan clubs ( not officially recognized by their clubs) when we visit away venues like Jamshedpur Red Miners to West Block Blues of BFC and Also West Coast Brigade of the Mumbai City FC.
There has never been any match without the Gaur army in attendance to drum up support along its Mascot popularly Known as Gaudinho and the Gaur Band led by its key members Carlos Gonsalves and Kevin Albuquerque. In another first and its commitment to work for inclusive fan culture Gaur Army became the only supporters club to have made a National Anthem Video shot at Nehru Stadium along with specially abled children from the Gujarati Samaj School Margao.
Founding member Sidharth Mehta says “As football Fan who has travelled the length and breadth of the Indian Sub-Continent following the FC Goa Team through good times and bad, this was surreal. I believe what defines our Supporters club is how we are valued by the team we support. The Love and respect we have got from FC Goa players led by Head Coach Sergio Lobera speaks volumes why we are now popularly known as Sergio’s Gaur Army.
Be it the entire team walking towards us after every match to players defying the security barrier and giving their priceless Jerseys to Golden Boot FerranCorominas trying to express his love for the “12th Man” as we welcome the team every home and away game gives Goosebumps to every member of the Gaur Army” he said.
The Members have lived up to their coined hashtag “WeAreGoa” in true letter and spirit.
Today the Gaur Army has over 7000 Followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter handles and has members from across Goa and several countries including U.K, Australia and UAE with football buffs following them closely. [H]