The veteran footballer from Tilamol has no plans of slowing down even as he’s nearing 40!
Former Dempo SC midfielder Peter Carvalho may be one of the most underrated players of his time. He spent almost a decade years with the Goan giants, serving the club with exemplary commitment.
However, not many are aware could have well started his senior playing career with Goan rivals Sporting Clube de Goa.
Carvalho did eventually turn up for the Flaming Oranje in 2017, 16 years after attending trials at the club that was then recently taken over from Cidade de Goa in 1999 by Sporting Goa’s current owner Peter Vaz.
“He (Carvalho) attended a trial with us in the year 2001 and Peter (Vaz) wanted to sign him,” Sporting Goa official Angelo Albuquerque revealed to Goal. “He was around 20 years old at that time. This boy used to come all the way from Quepem. He used to wake up at 5 am and set out on a milk van to Margao and then caught a bus to reach in time for our practice sessions at Campal at 7:30 am.
“Just because of the traveling distance (approximately 50 kms one way) and since we did not have any accommodation system back then, we didn’t sign him up and then he went to Raia [Sporting Club]. Otherwise, he would have started his career with us (Sporting Goa).”
At the age of 39, Carvalho was still among the fittest players in the Goan Pro League.
With regard to Carvalho’s last stint with Sporting Goa before the Coronavirus pandemic struck, Albuquerque stated, “He is physically strong and never misses practice. In the two years he was with us, he missed only one practice session. He has played all these years only because of his discipline. As a player, youngsters should look up to him – his discipline, the way he takes care of himself.”
After Raia Sporting Club, he joined Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in 2004 before joining National Football League (NFL) side Fransa-Pax the following season but the outfit who would disband in 2006 after club owner Micky Pacheco decided to pull out his team mid-way through the 2005-06 NFL (now I-League) season.
That in turn opened the door for his move to Dempo with then coach of the Golden Eagles, Armando Colaco, luring him in with a three-year contract in the summer of 2006. Carvalho spent the next 10 years at the club winning the Durand Cup in his first year, a cherished semi-finals appearance in the 2008 AFC Cup, a couple of Indian Super Cup trophies (2008, 2010) and four of Dempo’s five NFL/I-League titles among his major honours.
“He is a very simple and humble person and hardly spoke much even during team meetings. He was extremely punctual and disciplined during practices and he is a player that would play for the team anywhere as per requirements,” Colaco told Goal.
“I made use of him in so many different positions and I’m glad (I did). If he remains physically fit, he can play for another two years because he has the experience on his side. His maturity will help him. I really appreciate and admire him for what he has done at Dempo.”
It’s no surprise that Carvalho also spoke highly of his former coach at Dempo, someone who helped him build his career.
“Armando was the most inspiring coach I have ever met in my life. The way he guided me is why I had such a fruitful career in football,” he expressed to Goal.
Although he only got a look into the national team set-up during a few friendlies under the regime of Armando Colaco as the India coach, at the state level, Peter Carvalho won the 2005 Santosh Trophy with Goa and at the age of 36 captained the side that lost the 2017 Santosh Trophy final played in Goa 1-0 to West Bengal.
This was when, in 2017, he earned himself a move to Sporting Clube de Goa from FC Bardez to ply his trade in the Goa Pro League and almost won back-to-back titles. Their bid for a second consecutive title was halted by FC Goa‘s developmental side in 2018-19 season.
In between, after becoming the highest scoring midfielder for Dempo in the 2012-13 I-League, Carvalho was loaned out on successive seasons to Indian Super League (ISL) clubs FC Goa (2014) and Kerala Blasters (2015).
“The first time in my career I got the opportunity to share the room with someone like Zico and Robert Pires (at FC Goa). I got to learn a lot from them. At Kerala (Blasters), I suffered a MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) injury to my knee,” he recalled.
In fact, Carvalho still intends to play for as long as he can, wherever it is.
“There were a lot of good youngsters at Sporting. Keeping up with the pace was something I found a bit challenging but I still had it in me. I still want to play,” he now insists.