Former FC Goa defender Carlos Pena is set to return to the club as manager, IFTWC can confirm. The paperwork for Pena still needs to be completed, after which he will assume responsibility for Goa for the upcoming season.
Juan Ferrando had left FC Goa midway through the season when ATK Mohun Bagan activated his release clause and signed him as their new manager. Derrick Pereira served as their interim coach since then, under whom they finished 9th in the league table.
Carlos Pena was one of only a few foreign players to have won both the League Shield and the Super Cup while playing in India. In 2019-20, he also served as the Gaur’s captain, and the club went on to win the League Shield. His retirement came a few months after he added both the major trophies in Indian Football to his trophy cabinet. As a Gaur, he also finished runners up in the league in 2018-19.
Pena did not remain away from the game for too long, as he went on to coach multiple Spanish teams since his retirement. He managed the youth team of Lorca before moving on to manage the youth team of UCAM Murcia. He was also a part of the coaching staff at Lleida Esportiu. Pena currently is serving as a head-coach of Albacete Balompie youth team which plays in Juvenil League. The league serves as of the best youth league where most of the talents flourish & later move to La Liga clubs. The FC Goa midfielder Muhammad Nemil was loaned to the Juvenil league before last season. Under Pena, with 31 games played, Albacete won 13, drew 9 and has lost 9 matches.
Pena stated last year in an interview with IFTWC that “he would love to return to India again as a manager.” Pena will finally return back as a head coach to the club with whom he finished his career.
The respect Pena has for The Gaurs is undeniable as he had mentioned, “I am proud to say I was once a Gaur and always will be a Gaur. I watch and pay attention to every game. I am happy with how they are developing.“
FC Goa will now have the chance to rebuild under the leadership of an ex-Gaur after two unfamiliar seasons in the league. While Pena has relatively limited experience managing a team, the fans will definitely be happy with his appointment based on his huge success as a player. During his time at the club, Pena worked closely with Sergio Lobera, and Goa will hope that Pena has the same impact on them as Lobera did.
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