The Spaniard had a successful stint with Gokulam Kerala previously, winning the Durand Cup and the Kerala Premier League.

Goa-based I-League side Churchill Brothers have roped in former Gokulam Kerala head coach Fernando Santiago Varela for the upcoming season.

Churchill Brothers had a below-par campaign last time around, when they finished eighth in the table with just 20 points in 15 games. Bernardo Tavares was appointed the head coach at the start of the season, but was unfortunately sacked midway through by the Red Machines owing a series of poor performances in the league. Mateus Costa, the head coach of Sporting Clube de Goa was then appointed the interim coach of the team.

On the other hand, Fernando Santiago Varela was relieved of his duties by Gokulam Kerala in August this year. The Malabarians named young Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese as his replacement. During his two stints with the Kozhikode-based club, he helped them win the Kerala Premier League as well as the Durand Cup. The team also featured in the semi-final of the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup organized in Bangladesh.

“I’m proud to represent Churchill (Brothers) in the I-League. I thank President (Churchill) Alemao, Valanka (Alemao) and whole Churchill family for trusting me. I’m looking forward to start with all the players and show it to our fans that we will fight for the I-League this year,” the Spaniard quoted via a video message.

Churchill Brothers, who last won the prestigious I-League title in 2013, would be hoping for a turnaround this season under the tutelage of Fernando Santiago Varela.

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The Red Machines have lost key players in the ongoing window, with Willis Plaza leaving for Mohammedan Sporting and defender Robert Primus going to FC Bengaluru United. Glan Martins and Ponif Vaz have also left the club.

The 14th edition of the I-League will be played in the state of West Bengal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The new season is reportedly set to kickoff in November later this year.

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