This is the second part of IFTWC’s interview with former FC Goa defender Carlos Pena.
Also Read (Part 1) – Building academies is the key for development of football in India
In the earlier part of the interview, Carlos Pena revealed his journey until he signed for FC Goa back in 2018. As he joined the Gaurs, he told, in that same season under the guidance of Sergio Lobera, FC Goa made their way to ISL finals and clashed against Bengaluru FC. But, it was unfortunate that FC Goa lost the match when Rahul Bheke of Bengaluru scored a goal in 117’th minute of additional time.
“That final was very tough. We were very close to win that final. We played with 10-players as Jahouh received a red card. I think the corner from Bengaluru made all the difference. Of course, we were sad but confidently we later played Super Cup with a mentality of not giving up and we won the Super Cup,” said Pena.
The Indian Super League season 2019-20 was more special for Indian football as the table-toppers were to be awarded a special league shield and a group spot in Asia’s best premier club competition AFC Champions League. FC Goa took the league by storm from starting itself. When three league matches were remaining a sudden shocking news hit fans, the sacking of head coach Sergio Lobera. Pena explained how the team held up in this stage and won the league shield.
“I think players and coaches leave out from the club but the club remains very strong. It was our job to be strong and be professional. We were very united at that time so we won the league shield at the end of the league,” stated Pena.
After making it to the playoffs in ISL 2019-20, FC Goa faced Chennaiyin FC in the semi-finals. In the first leg, Chennaiyin FC scored four goals while Goa just one. Goa trailing by three goals, it was a huge challenge for the Gaurs to make a comeback in the second leg and was the last game of Pena.
“That game was very special for me. We lost the first leg but with confidence, we started the second leg match with two early goals. Later in the second half, Chennaiyin made the comeback. But, I am very proud of the work we all did in that match. A great memory in Fatorda stadium is what I can say.” the 37-year old said to IFTWC.
Recently, FC Goa finished their AFC Champions League campaign. At the end of the six matches of the group stage, FC Goa stood third in the group with three points only. But, the Gaurs surprised everyone by their performance, competing against the best teams in Asia. Pena didn’t forget to praise the team and said,
“They faced the best teams in Asia. Nobody expected this scoreline as three matches were drawn and we were close to winning one match. The coach and staff have to be very proud of their players. The only concern was they played six games in around fourteen days. It was an opportunity for Indian players to play at a higher level and it is going to be very useful for not only FC Goa but also for Indian football.“
In between the conversion we had quick rapid-fire questions where Pena eagerly answered them-
FIFA / PES – PES
Ronaldo / Messi – Messi
Favourite Spanish Club – FC Barcelona
Favorite Club in India, except FC Goa – Kerala Blasters
Toughest opponent faced in India – Bengaluru FC
Toughest opponent player faced – Messi Bouli (Kerala Blasters FC)
Best friend during your time at Goa – Ferran Corominas & Edu Bedia
If not a footballer what would Carlos Pena be? – Teacher
Currently, Carlos Pena is working as an assistant coach at Lleida Esportiu club in the Spanish Segunda B division club. Pena didn’t forget to share saying he would like to come to India one day soon for coaching a team.
“I would proudly say I was once a Gaur and will be always a Gaur. I watch and pay attention to their every game. I am proud of how they are developing more and more,” concluded Carlos Pena.