The right back who has played his entire senior career, since 1999, for the five-time champions has decided to stick with the club...Dempo SC defender Samir Naik has pledged his allegiance to his club by signing an one-year extension with the Goan side. He was reportedly on the radar of IMG-Reliance's new league which is scheduled for January 2014.
However, with the I-League Professional Football Clubs' Association (IPFCA) choosing not to associate with any player involved in the new league, several players have snubbed the lucrative offer.
"They (IMG-Reliance) say that the league is going to happen. So I'm also not sure whether it is going to happen or not. Hence I signed for Dempo," the 33-year-old told Goal.
"I am first a Dempo player. My first preference has always been to play for Dempo and they (IMG-Reliance) are not sure of their league yet. Suppose it is happening and if the club (Dempo) is releasing me, and if they (IMG-Reliance) want me in their league, then it is okay," he went on to back his decision.
With the five-time champions deciding to cut down their current season's budget by a reported 20-25%, Naik revealed that he accepted a pay cut to stay with the Goan giants, "I had spoken [with Dempo] before. The budget is reduced so our salaries have also been brought down."
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The former India international although reserved words of praise towards club chairman Mr. Shrinivas Dempo and expressed his confidence in new head coach Arthur Papas.
"The boss has always been supportive towards us," he said. "Papas has done well before at Pailan Arrows and with India U-22 team, so we know what he is capable of achieving."
The Golden Eagles will see a lot of new faces in the upcoming season, while the club decided to part ways with long-standing head coach Armando Colaco besides a number of senior players.
"We will miss some senior players, but the core is still intact," Naik pointed out. "Most players signed are experienced. Even the youngsters have played in the league."
Adding about Dempo's peculiar 4-4-2 style of play over the years, he concluded, "It won't be much of a task (to adjust to a different style of play or formation) as everyone is a professional player and has to be able to adapt. I think the team is balanced. The pre-season will get the players together."
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