FC Goa’s appointment of former club icon Carlos Pena as the head coach heading into the new season seems to have been a shot in the arm for the morale of their fans following a disappointing ISL campaign which saw the Gaurs miss out on the playoffs only for the second time in eight years.
Pena takes over the reins at FC Goa just two years after bringing down the curtain on his playing career after spending his last two seasons as a Gaur - both of which brought him silverware at the Club.
In Pena, the FC Goa fans found a leader on and off the pitch - his presence in the backline bringing a sense of calm to the proceedings. And fans are looking forward to ushering back the good times with his return to their Club.
“It’s always an exciting story to hear a former player taking charge of the club and taking it to glory, and here with Pena at the club it’s not different. I have heard about his fiery motivational talks in the dressing room and with the players, how he breathes life into dead wood,” remarked Ashlesh Ajgaonkar.
“As a player he always gave everything and I am sure as coach, the kind of personality he has, he will put his all in.”
Season ticket holder Sameer Shirodkar also is also looking forward to seeing Carlos Peña back in FC Goa colours and believes his leadership will be very crucial to the Club’s upcoming season.
“I’m really looking forward to having Pena back at FC Goa, because we all know his presence in the dressing room is going to be very impactful,” opined Shirodkar.
Gautham, an FC Goa fan from Trivandrum also feels that the positive winds will be back in FC Goa’s sails in the coming season with the return of the Spaniard to Goan shores.
“I remember the days Carlos Pena hung up his boots. After all he had been a major part of the most successful phase at the club,” stated Gautham.
“The team has not done quite so well since then and it shows how big a void he left behind. Now that he is back, even though in a different role, I strongly feel he will make as much of an impact as he did during his playing days.”
Pena might not bring a ton of experience as head coach, however, he will have the advantage of falling back on his experience of playing in India and knowledge of the philosophy of football that guides FC Goa.
Anthony Fernandes, another FC Goa diehard from Candolim feels that his familiarity with the challenge that lies ahead for him will serve him in good stead.
“Having been with the team before he has the knowledge of the players and that of how FC Goa wants to play. So I am being positive and looking forward to a great season,” stated Fernandes.
“He may not have much experience being a coach of a senior team but he can counter that with his knowledge of the ISL.”
And whilst time will answer a number of questions, Pena’s arrival has certainly brought forth a real sense of anticipation amongst the FC Goa faithful. With the fans having endured two seasons of FC Goa with action taking place inside a bio-bubble and a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, this is certainly looking like a positive start.