Defending I-League champions Aizawl FC have entered final round of negotiations with young Portuguese coach Paulo Jorge Coelho Meneses, Goal has learnt.
The 39-year old tactician, who has played for a number of lower division Portuguese sides, will undertake his first major coaching assignment in case he signs on the dotted line. He had earlier served as part of coaching staff at Lanexang United in Laos and Chorrilo FC in Panama.
The Reds, who had grabbed the headlines last summer due to their fairy-tale I-League victory after getting relegated the season before, had lost their gaffer Khalid Jamil, who has since been appointed coach of Kolkata giants East Bengal.
The club had been in talks with a number of candidates in the last couple of months and Dave Rogers, who had coached DSK Shivajians in the last edition of the competition, had looked the front-runner at one stage, but the management has now set their eyes on Meneses.
On the other hand, Aizawl have roped in former India international Shylo Malsawmtluanga, who went unsold at the Indian Super League drafts recently. Mama, as he is popularly known, was the first professional footballer coming from Mizoram to have made it big in the national circuit and has played a big role in inspiring a generation of Mizo footballers.
"Aizawl FC is a club very close to my heart... Please give your all for the 90 minutes and win the I-League, Aizawl FC. No one will be happier than your well-wisher Shylo Malsawmtluanga," he had written in his column for Goal before the club's final I-League clash last season.
The outfit had also approached former India internationals Gouramangi Singh and Sandip Nandy, but the talks have not progressed much, with both players keen to sign for ISL clubs.
After losing their core squad to Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and the ISL outfits, the club has promoted a number of youth team graduates, apart from signing veterans like Alfred Jaryan, Kareem Nurain and David Lalrinmuana.