We lifted two trophies together, it’s a joy to have Carlos Pena back: FC Goa’s Seriton Fernandes

FC Goa star defender Seriton Fernandes is delighted in reuniting with his former teammate Carlos Pena and is looking forward to a joint pursuit to secure a third ever silverware for the club. Pena, who played two seasons for the Gaurs and led them to the 2019 Hero Super Cup and 2019-20 ISL League Winners Shield triumphs, returned to the setup as the head coach.

Seriton and Pena formed a lethal partnership at the back during FC Goa’s most successful spell, but the Spaniard retired in 2020, thus marking the end of it. On the other hand, the Indian footballer, already creating a name for himself, climbed up the ladder and made his debut for the national team, in September, last year.

"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," said Seriton Fernandes, in a conversation with The Bridge.

However, after Pena’s departure, the Gaurs have been experiencing a trophy-drought, finishing at the ninth spot with just four wins from 20 matches in the 2021-22 ISL. Several factors contributed to the outcome, which includes core players flocking to other clubs, along with abrupt changes in the managerial section.

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While head coach Sergio Lobera was roped in by Mumbai City FC ahead of the 2020-21 season, Juan Ferrando shifted loyalties to ATK Mohun Bagan midway through the last term.

Following a two-year absence from the Indian football circuit, Pena returned a few days back, as the head coach of FC Goa. Taking up the reins in a tumultuous period demands extensive rework, which Pena, already a veteran in the Gaurs’ dugout, will be in an advantageous position to impart his duties.

"He (Pena) 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," added the Indian footballer.

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