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I-League: Gokulam Kerala bring back Fernando Santiago Varela as head coach

16:56 BST 09/07/2019
Gokulam Kerala Premier League 2018
Gokulam Kerala had won the Kerala Premier League under Varela last season...

I-League team Gokulam Kerala have decided to bring back Fernando Santiago Varela as head coach, Goal can confirm. The foreign coach is yet to join the squad that is set to play in the 2019 Durand Cup due to a delay in procuring a visa but he is expected to arrive in India soon. 

The Spanish coach was appointed as the head coach of the Malabarians ahead of the 2018-19 season of I-League. In his short first stint, he helped the Kozhikode-based club lift the Kerala Premier League title. However, within weeks after joining, the coach had asked to leave the club citing personal reasons.

The doors weren't closed for Varela as he maintained a good relationship with the decision-makers at the club. He was also among the shortlisted candidates to take over the coaching role at Mohun Bagan.

Gokulam Kerala ended the 2018-19 season in the ninth position with Bino George at the helm. They had also appointed Gift Raikhan as technical director of the club but the duo couldn't help the club attain a top-four finish.

Raikhan has signed for NEROCA FC and Bino George's future is uncertain. The Kerala-born head coach could continue as either the technical director or head of youth development at the club but he also has been offered the assistant coach's role by a few ISL clubs. 

The Malabarians have already assembled a squad for the upcoming season and are set to take part in the 129th edition of the Durand Cup which will kick off on August 2 in Kolkata.