LAST TIME TFG spoke to Rowlin Borges, he was a giddy youngster in the middle of something very exciting. The 23 year old had been picked for the Indian national team, in a breakneck race to the SAFF Championship title. Visibly savouring every moment of the experience, he didn't seem concerned about not being picked by an ISL franchise, saying he was having the "time of his life."
Couple of months later, his life has definitely gotten a lot more interesting. His long time club, Sporting Clube de Goa, has made a good start in the I-League; and seems to be one of the major players in the league rather than a relegation contender as they were last season.
And if the latest rumours are to be believed, the defensive midfielder from Nuvem is drawing attention from a 3rd-tier German club Erzebirge Aue; although a Sporting Clube de Goa official decided to hold his tongue on the matter when contacted by TFG.
But just days before that, Rowlin himself had another chat with TFG; parts of it were featured in the TFG Football Podcast. When asked about possible interests from ISL teams, he laughed and said,
"I can't talk about that... right now my concentration is on performing well in the I-League and help my team to do better... only focusing on the next game in hand."
Pretty standard response, but was it because he knew that better things than ISL were afoot? Whatever the case, Borges was more interested in re-living the moments of the SAFF Championship victory,
"It was like you're at the top of the world, man... everybody worked hard for it, from staff to players. My family, watching on TV, was very happy too."
Were the Blue Tigers under pressure when Afghanistan scored first? Rowlin said that wasn't the case,
"We were not under pressure. We were creating lots of chances, and we knew we were going to score in the end. At half time, captain Sunil Chhetri told us to give more than 200% because it was the final, and we had to win it, for our fans, for our coaches. That drove us."
Speaking about the situation in the I-League today, Rowlin said it was going to be a tight race for every club right to the end, and Sporting Clube de Goa was no exception,
"Every match is important now. The teams are so close that a couple of wins will bring a team from the bottom into a strong position in the league table. So winning every game is crucial, for us and every other team... we have a good squad. We'll do much better than last season."
Rowlin himself had about a week to adjust to his club squad after spending more than a month with the national team under Constantine, and he said in his case it didn't take much of an adjustment,
"Every coach has his own methods so there's a little bit of adjustment to be made, but not much in my case. And we're professionals so we do the work and get on with it."
Sporting Clube de Goa have had a good start to the season this time, and Rowlin was hopeful that this would translate in higher popularity for the club and a bigger home crowd at the Fatorda Stadium,
"I-League hardly gets any marketing and many of the matches are not even shown on TV. So I hope they promote the league better so the people come in larger numbers to the games... I think it's getting better already. Our home crowd is increasing and if we keep playing well by the end of the season there will be a lot more people coming in."
With his team going up against Mumbai FC this weekend, he would certainly hope a good result at the Cooperage, other than consolidating the position of Sporting Clube de Goa in the league table, will have a positive effect on the home crowd size at Fatorda as well.