Durand Cup: Tempo with Dempo

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/durandcup2.jpg' class='caption'> Real Madrid aren't the only football club famously known as the 'Whites'. That sobriquet also belongs to the Dempo Sports Club from Goa.

Updated: November 03, 2007 12:06 IST
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New Delhi:

Real Madrid aren't the only football club famously known as the 'Whites'. That sobriquet also belongs to the Dempo Sports Club from Goa.

And while they might not have the Galacticos in their ranks like Real do, the current National Football League champions are giving the other big clubs a run for their money.

Incidentally, they are also the defending champions this Durand Cup.

Special prayers were held at Panjim's local church when Portugal reached the Euro 2004 Final.

That is how much Goans love their football. And that is probably why 47 years ago, an iron-ore mining company thought, taking over a small football team wasn't a bad idea at all. Thus was born the Dempo Sports Club.

It is thanks to the efforts of this man Coach Armando Colaco that Dempo are the current National Football League champions and defending champions at the Durand Cup.

But there is one piece of silverware in the Dempo trophy cabinet that brought bitter and sweet memories with it.

The 2004 Federation Cup title was marred by the tragic death of Christiano Junior.

"After victory everyone wants to celebrate, but the whole night the boys and the coaching staff were so sad, and there was no celebration even after reaching Goa, we had to send his body to Brazil, everything was in a mess after winning the trophy also," said Mauricio Afonso Assistant Coach, Dempo.

Dempo have successfully put that behind them and they are now the most sought after Indian club, and some of the top India Internationals are in their ranks, including Mahesh Gawli, Sameer Naik, Clifford Miranda and Climax Lawrence.

They are also leading the charge in India's first professional league which kicks off later this month, Dempo play Salgaoncar in the first match.

Catch them young is the mantra at Goa's Dempo Sports Club that has seen them grow over the years.

But that's not good enough, as world-class training and exposure are equally important.

That's why they've tied up with FC Porto, who are Potugal's league champions, for an exchange programme, something that'll surely give the club an edge over the other teams.

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