The fullback played for the Gaurs across two seasons and scored as many goals.
FC Goa’s Technical Director Derrick Pereira believes Club icon and former defensive mainstay Carlos Pena is ready to take on the challenge of leading the club. The former Indian International lent his vote of confidence to the new head coach as he believes that his passion for the game added to the advantage of his familiarity with Indian football and the Club should help him overcome the upcoming challenges.
Speaking on Carlos Pena’s appointment, Pereira said, “I really have no doubts that he’s ready for the job. He knows the Club, he knows the expectations that come with the job at Goa, he has felt the love of the fans, he knows the people and the environment within the Club which is so important. He has everyone’s trust.
“He is a real student of the game and more importantly, he has passion. He has more experience now than I had when I took over. I wish him the best and hopefully step by step FC Goa will be back to where we aspire to be.”
Pereira had Carlos Pena as one his key players when he took over the reins late on in the 2019/20 season. And with him at the helm, he hopes the club can find their old form.
Reminiscent of Derrick Pereira’s journey as a coach
Pereira’s career also followed a similar trajectory. Following his storied career, the Goan legend took charge of the Salgaocar U19 for a brief period before being handed over the rule for Vasco SC in 2000 – the team qualifying for the I-League during his spell as head coach.
“The management has chosen Carlos because the positives of him taking over the reins far outweigh any negatives. As a player he was always one who put the team first. He was a leader in the dressing room and his teammates looked upto him,” remarked Pereira of his former ward.
“It’s, of course, going to be a real challenge and a learning experience for him, but he has rich experience having played under at a very high level in Spain and learning from a number of well-renowned coaches.”
During his time at FC Goa as a player, Pena became a mainstay of the side that reached the ISL Final in 2018/19 before helping the Gaurs capture their first silverware in the 2019 Super Cup. The following season, there was more silverware awaiting as the Gaurs got their hands on the ISL League Winners’ Shield while cementing their place in history as the first team from India to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League.
And now with the 38-year-old back at the club, Pereira along with the fans will be looking forward to bringing back the good old days.