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Recently honoured as 'best coach' for I-League season 2012-13 by the AIFF, the former Pune FC coach is content with the players at his disposal...


GOALBY   ANSELM NORONHA     Follow @apnoronha on twitter


Salgaocar FC have completed their roster of foreign players for the I-League season 2013-14, with the signing of Claude Gnakpa on Monday.

The Green and Whites have signed Scottish striker Darryl Duffy and confirmed the capture of Japanese central midfielder Seiji Saito only as early as last week, while Nigerian defender Chika Wali had followed his former mentor to the Goan side ahead of the pre-season.

Explaining what Salgaocar were looking for in their foreign recruits for the coming season, Derrick Pereira revealed to GOAL, "We were looking out for a combination of players upfront and we saw that Duffy and Gnakpa were combining well."

The above mentioned strikers were on trial with the club for the past couple of days, and the head coach is confident that he has found the right kind of combination for his side. "After seeing them (Gnakpa and Duffy) in our training sessions, I'm sure that they will combine with the others and form a formidable combination," he added.

"The players were coming from an off-season, so we took some time to make a decision, as we wanted to see them at their best," Pereira reasoned, however stressing that he got his players at the right time of the season.

"The reason we said that we'll sign the players before the Goa League, so that they can gel with the other players and get the taste of football. I'm sure (they will adapt to Indian football), because we saw the players in the training. Every player had at least three-to-four sessions."

Claude Gnakpa Darryl Duffy Seiji Saito Chika Wali

With Salgaocar's foreign contingent filled, Pereira is confident that his batch of local players are capable of delivering for the team. "We are just looking at a couple of positions which we need to strengthen, so we'll be looking at our local players to do the job and I'm sure they will do it. During the season, if we feel as if we need a player, then we'll see. As of now there is just one place," he affirmed.

Having begun their season by winning a piece of silverware in the form of the Goa League Charity Cup, beating Goa Velha SC 4-1, the 51-year-old is of the firm belief that the future of Salgaocar FC lies with the youngsters of the club.

"It was a good match," he said. "We tried some youngsters and I was happy with their performance. It will help the club in the future and I think the more they (youngsters) play such games, they will gain in confidence. So we'll give as many youngsters (as possible) an opportunity to prove themselves.

"Football is improving from what I had seen earlier in the Goa League and all. The training, practices and everything is more professional now. It's a good platform - the Goa League - for the youngsters to improve themselves."

The Football Players' Association of India (FPAI) 'Coach of the Year', Derrick Pereira also spoke of the added motivation he has attained upon being adjudged as 'Best Coach' for 2012-13 by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

"It's motivating," claimed the Goan. "It gives you that added incentive to work harder. My aim is always high, I keep doing it. And when you are appreciated, of course, it gives you an extra 'josh' (zeal)."

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