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'Time to lift a 3rd trophy together': FC Goa's Seriton Fernandes welcomes back old friend

When FC Goa were enjoying their most successful period in 2018-20, Carlos Pena and Seriton Fernandes were part of the backline. Two years later, the Spanish defender has returned - as head coach.

Time to lift a 3rd trophy together: FC Goas Seriton Fernandes welcomes back old friend

FC Goa (ISL)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 April 2022 3:12 PM GMT

Indian national team footballer Seriton Fernandes is looking to turn over a new page in his career and 'win more trophies', with his old friend Carlos Pena now in charge at FC Goa.

"I had many wonderful moments with Pena and we lifted two trophies together (for FC Goa). It's a joy to have him back, his return is good news for all of us. As a former footballer himself with plenty of experience, he will know what is best for us," the 29-year-old defender told The Bridge.

One of the ISL team's mainstays over the years, Seriton and Pena had formed an effective combination at the back when FC Goa had enjoyed their most successful spell. They had made 42 appearances together across all competitions between 2018 and 2020.

The duo helped the Gaurs bring home their first-ever silverware in the form of the Hero Super Cup triumph in 2019. The following year, they made history again, this time helping FC Goa become the first Indian team to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League en route to winning the ISL League Winner's Shield.

Seriton's performances helped him carve out his own identity as one of the most reliable right-backs in the country leading to his debut for the Indian national team in September last year.

"I really enjoyed playing with him. His presence in the backline always brought a sense of calmness. The results were there for all to see," Seriton said about his days of playing alongside Pena.

Pena a student of the game: Seriton

However, the Goa side have failed to sustain the level of success their fans had been growing used to since then. Head coach Juan Ferrando deserted the team midway through the ISL 2021/22 season as they finished ninth - ahead of only Northeast United FC and East Bengal.

Pena, who returned to FC Goa as head coach earlier this month, after having retired two years ago, is expected to lead his old club back to winning ways.

"He is very passionate about the game, he studies it unlike any other teammate I have ever had. Even when he was a player, on flights or in his hotel room I would find him studying something about the game - and not only the ISL. He truly lives the game. And his experience of having played in India, would hold him in good stead," said Seriton.

How smooth will the transition be from playing alongside him to being coached by him?

"He reached out to me a few days ahead of the announcement. We spoke about the past seasons and where I am at. More importantly, I'm really keen to learn from him and I feel really lucky to have him as my boss. He is already making plans as to how to get the best out of me. I have learnt a lot from him as a teammate. Now I will look to getting more tips from him as a coach," Seriton Fernandes concluded.

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