The Trippy Life of the “Goalkeepers” of Goa’s Drugs

True Crime

The Trippy Life of the “Goalkeepers” of Goa’s Drugs

Illustration: Akshita Monga


here’s an old Goan saying that goes, “Football xetan pikta (Football grows in the fields.)” I’m reminded of this adage by Lawrence every time FC Goa’s defender, local boy Keenan Almeida, does his job of stealing the football from the opposing team’s midfielders. It’s early summer and Lawrence and I are drinking the season’s first urak at a cheap feni bar in Chapora, North Goa. I’ve been here just two months, but I know to steer clear of Chapora – a place best described as Dharavi meets Mogadishu, with its populace of crazed Russians on cocaine, ex-Brit punk rockers on MDMA, and Goans who’ve lived with these addicted expats long enough to become less high, but more savage versions of them.

In between sips of his urak-lemonade, Lawrence cheers, jeers, and swears at the CRT TV, showing the previous night’s game. Around us, the rickety chairs and grime-covered tables creak and sway under the weight of the scarred livers atop them.