UNDERSTANDING LIFE BEYOND SOCCER
As one of those privileged many, I can still recall the halo of serenity and the innate feeling that justice would be dealt evenly , in his benign presence. But more than these two inspiring and sobering first impressions , was the strong personal belief that he tried to instill in every Larista's mind- that of a "mens sana in corpore sano".
Table-tennis , volley -ball, base-ball, basket ball ...... he had the basic facilities of all these sports provided for at the Lar. And of course.... foot-ball- his most cherished sport !
He was the mentor-cum-coach-cum-tactician of the post liberation Academica team, which after the departure of it's Portuguese and Laurentino stars. had to struggle for a couple of seasons in the first Division League with the core of Laristas Wilson Mazarello, Oscar "Williebroad" Gracias, Trifonio and Solon Jaques, Joao Laurento etc. and other youngsters like Henrique , Vincent Fernandes etc. from upto the Lar football ground, the only one available to them in the vicinity.
Later, as the situation in recruitment of players improved for academica, the lesser lights in the Lar were moulded by Fr.Chico into the sporting Clube de Goa, a club which had ceased to exist after liberation, and which continued for some years even after the dissolution of Academica- a tribute to Fr. Chico 's love for football, although by then he had long left the Lar.
Self-instructed in the basics of football, Fr.Chico was a sticker for clean and elegant play and propagated the concept of concerted team efforts based on rudimentary passing techniques instead of the then prevalent individual dribbling and soloing attitudes.
He carried on with this dedication to youngsters and football in his village of Candolim from where he groomed the likes of goal-keeper Alexinho Fernandes, the late Titus Fernandes , Alexio 'Bendu" Simoes, etc
Even after he took charge of the home for the aged clergymen at Porvorim Fr.Chico would find time to witness good football matches at Campal stadium- a visiting foreign team, or perhaps the finals of the Bandodkar Trophy.
And this is an impression I will always remember the saintly priest surrounded by many former Laristas " Liceuistas" etc.., some already greying and balding , stooping to kiss his hand, their eyes reflecting the love and affection for this guiding light of the early years !!!
The memory of Fr.Chico will also remain with them Forever !