First, in the 4-2 semi-final win over Union Bank of India, Koya effected three fine saves in the tie-breaker, and thereafter put up a stellar show in the final against Central Railway as Customs emerged 1-0 victors.
Mumbai Customs custodian Lihaz Koya effects a save during the tie-breaker of the Independence Cup semi-final against UBI yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
In the final, Koya first thwarted CR’s Safique P from close range in the first half before blocking the long range efforts of Karim Shaikh and Chetan Waghela in the second session. Meanwhile, Customs’ striker Francisco Salian scored in the 10th minute of the first session, for what turned out to be the all-important goal of the match.
Koya was happy that his experience with the Mumbai-based I-League club was keeping his Elite Division side (Customs) in good stead.
“As a senior member of the team, it is my job to shoulder the responsibility in crunch situations. And I’m to have contributed to a winning start to the new season. This win is special considering we didn’t get enough time to practice for the tournament,” said the Matunga lad, who is employed as a tax assistant with Mumbai Customs.
Koya joined Customs from Mumbai FC two years ago after suffering a shoulder injury. “A tendon tear in my right shoulder in 2010 almost ended my career. But I’m glad I moved to Customs as my job gives me financial security. Of course, I miss the pressure and recognition I enjoyed while playing in the I-League,” admitted Koya.