Brian Mascarenhas is another player from Goa who could point to the exit of the Goan clubs from I-League for having played a role in the stalling of his career. The winger, who currently plays for Real Kashmir, was forced to spend two seasons with Salgaocar, playing just the Goa Professional League.
The 28-year-old, having gathered nearly 2000 minutes with Salgaocar FC in the I-League, is yet to come to terms with the Goan side's exit from the league in 2016.
"When Salgaocar pulled out from the I-League, that time my career was at its peak," he mentioned to Goal. "I was continuously playing in the I-League but it (his career) went down with the club going out of the I-League."
Among his major honours, Brian has won the Goa Professional League with Dempo (2011) and Salgaocar (2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16) besides winning the 2014 Lusofonia Games as part of the Goa-India team.
The Nuvem-based lad took his first steps in football with Fransa-Pax FC's U-12 set-up before moving to Velsao Pale FC along with coach Eban Misquita. This was after the club from Nagoa shut down in 2006. There after he represented Salgaocar's junior sides from the U-16 to U-19 level and at the age of 17, joined Churchill Brothers where he would play in the Goa League for two years.
"Eban used to call me one-footed player because I used to mostly use my left foot. But then, I started using both my feet effectively. Now I can play as a left back also," he said.
"Actually, at the (2014) Lusofonia Games, coach Francisco Neto wanted to field me as a left back. I said to him that I never played as a left back and he told me 'you don't worry, you just give your best and I'll see the rest'. So from that time onwards, I started playing as a left back. For Salgaocar also, coach Derrick (Pereira) used to give me a chance as a left back."
Between his stints at Churchill Brothers (2009-2011) and Salgaocar (2012-2018), Brian kicked off his senior career with Dempo Sports Club in the 2011-12 I-League season. "It was the time when Clifford (Miranda) had gone for India duty (2011 SAFF Championship) and coach Armando (Colaco) gave me a chance to play," he recalled.
Brian saw his career at the top league stall after Salgaocar pulled out of the I-League in 2016. Though he stayed with them till 2018, he finally moved out of Goa to continue his career when he signed for Real Kashmir in 2018.
"I played only in Goa (until moving to Real Kashmir). So the offers also were hard to come by. I stayed with Salgaocar and played in the Goa Professional League for three seasons.
"I spoke to an agent and he told me about Real Kashmir. It was the season when they had won the (I-League) second division. The coach (Dave Robertson) was Scottish and Malcolm Thomson, who was the Salgaocar coach that time, was his friend. After my agent spoke to him (Robertson) about me, he asked Malcolm about me and that's how the move happened."
The 28-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Kashmiri outfit. After four appearances in the first season, he was just beginning to garner some playing time in the calendar year of 2020.
"This (2019-20) season, I got to play only three matches and when I was supposed to play in the starting 11, the lockdown (in Kashmir in order to curb the spread of coronavirus) happened and the match didn't take place. Then before the March [21-day] lockdown (announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi), we came home," Mascarenhas narrated.
Brian played just one full match in each of the two seasons but had the distinction of being included in matchday squad for all the 15 games that Real Kashmir played until the last season was suspended.
"I don't have a contract at the moment but (Real) Kashmir has told me that they will keep me. I have to speak to my agent also to see what happens. I just want to keep on playing and let's see where it can take me," he signed out.