Fernando Santiago Varela – We are aiming to win I-League this season

Fernando Santiago Varela
Fernando Santiago Varela

When an incredible squad is formed, an experienced coach must guide it and win games with a competitive spirit. In June 2021, the ex GKFC and Churchill Brothers head coach Fernando Santiago Varela was announced as the head coach of I-League debutants Sreenidi Deccan FC.

IFTWC had an exclusive chat with coach Fernando Santiago Varela to know more about the squad he is building with Sreenidi Deccan FC and the new challenge he took up by joining the I-League debutants.

This is what the 48-year-old had to say when asked about the reason behind joining Sreenidi Deccan FC as a head coach.

“After the I-League with Churchill Brothers, Sreenidi Deccan FC reached out to me, they showed me their facilities, they showed me the club’s vision. I was looking forward to this type of challenge. The vision is to build a good team and also groom quality youth players.”

“Many have asked me how Indian Football can grow, what is the main thing which can help Indian Football grow, and I always said that the concentration should be on developing the youth players. And when Sreenidi Deccan FC showed me the vision, I understood that we have the same ideology.”

“With the world-class facilities the club has, the philosophy to create quality young players and be competitive in top tier leagues will be done. The grassroots plan by SDFC is one of the reasons why I wanted to be part of the club. When you check famous academies like La Masia, there is a reason why they are famous. It is the values which the academy gives to the players, the philosophy which is taught.”

Fernando Varela said that Sreenidi Deccan FC’s philosophy is to develop Indian Football properly by building strong foundations.

“The vision for the future is to build a team in an organised manner, the philosophy is to help Indian Football with our academy, slowly we will add our academy players into the main team, so they can understand how professional football is played so that they can grow and one day play for the national team.”

Fernando Varela believes in a strong attacking type of play. He said Sreenidi Deccan FC would be playing attacking football to score goals and defend deep.

“My philosophy is attacking football, it is not always about the possession, you can reach the opponent’s goalpost in 2-3 touches, you need to have possession with an intention to score goals. It is also not always about scoring goals, the team should know how to defend, the players who play under me they know that they should show 200% on the field, they have to fight in each action, they have to be a protagonist on the field, they have to feel they want to win all the games.”

Fernando Varela has been a part of the I-League since 2018, and this is what he had to say about the changes he has observed in the league since then.

“I think the league is becoming more competitive each year, and the players are understanding more about tactics, even the points table has been changing, the difference between points in the points table is getting lesser and lesser each season, this season is going to be more competitive.”

Compared to the states like Goa and Kerala, the Telugu states are not football based but have a rich history of contributing quality players and coaches to Indian Football. Coach Fernando Varela says that with the world-class facilities in Sreenidi Deccan FC, Telugu states will again start contributing players on a national level.

“The first step for us to try to help footballers get access to the wonderful facilities we have here, then help them grow, then slowly help them get into the clubs in I-League & ISL.”

“The players from the North East have different characteristics, and the same goes with players from Goa and Kerala. In our academy, we will do everything we can to help the players from the Telugu states grow professionally, technically.”

“People from India are passionate, and they have a lot of passion in many different sports. It just needs to be well organized and done properly. This is the reason why I joined SDFC. The facilities we have at Sreenidi Deccan FC are the best in the country so that we will utilize them to our maximum capacity. We are grooming players in an organized way.”

Sreenidi Deccan FC is building a great team by adding quality players to their squad, so this is what the 48-year-old said when asked about the target the team has set for themselves this season.

“My philosophy is always to be competitive. Last season when I was with Churchill Brothers, we missed out on the title at the last moment.”

“We will try our best to get the trophy this season. The players who play under me know that I am too competitive. I always push players to get a winning mentality. I am sure we will fight for the title.”

With the facilities Sreenidi Deccan FC has, with the team they have built with the help of Fernando Santiago Varela, it is obvious that the club is going to give a top fight for winning the title.

We wish Sreenidi Deccan FC all the very best with their debut in the I-League!

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