East Bengal recently confirmed the signing of Goan coach Francisco Bruto Da Costa for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Da Costa, who has an AFC Pro License, has the experience of working in Indian Super League (ISL) clubs NorthEast United FC (2016) and Kerala Blasters (2018-19) as an assistant coach to Portuguese manager Nelo Vingada.
The Goan had also followed Vingada to Malaysia and served as his assistant at the Malaysian national team. He is only the third Indian coach after Syed Nayeemuddin and Shyam Thapa to be associated with a foreign national team.
“The club had approached me a couple of months back to discuss in general about the club and also regarding players. Finally, on July 29, I decided to sign the contract and join the club," he told Goal.
“East Bengal is a big club. For me, it is not important whether they play in ISL or I-League. That was never the question. East Bengal has achieved a lot over the years and they have a very rich history. It was an honour and privilege to join such a club especially in their centenary year,” said Da Costa.
Managing a Kolkata club isn’t everyone’s cup of tea considering the immense pressure and expectations of the fans. But the Goan manager suggested that he thrives under pressure.
“I enjoy pressure situations and I am really looking forward to working in Kolkata. Since childhood, pressure works as a motivation for me to work even harder. So I was very happy to take up this great challenge.”
If East Bengal decides to rope in another foreigner as head coach, Francisco feels he is ready to work under him.
“If East Bengal management decides to bring a foreign coach I won’t mind,” said the young Indian coach. "My job has always been to contribute to the game and I will continue to do the best I can. My target is to make East Bengal successful.”
He went on to discuss the prospects of East Bengal playing in the ISL, though the top-tier league has indicated that they will not be extending the number of participating teams for the upcoming season.
“It is always nice to play in the top tier. There are certain things that have to be done and if everything is done, then definitely East Bengal will be in ISL. But the decision will depend on the AIFF, FSDL and the East Bengal management. I have no say in this. But it would be nice to see East Bengal play in the ISL.”
Francisco Bruto has a vast experience of working at the youth level. He had previously managed India U14, U17 and U19 teams and was also in charge of the AIFF Elite Academy for a few years.
He suggested that he has already discussed his plan regarding East Bengal’s youth system with the club and is looking forward to meeting the youth coaches.
“I would love to contribute to the youth setup of East Bengal. It will be nice if I can share my experience and knowledge with coaches in the youth system to bring success to the club. I would like to be part of it.
“I have already spoken to the club regarding the structure of the youth development programs but I have not got into details. As and when I go there I can get into more details because it is difficult to do anything from so far away.”
The Goan coach also revealed that he will travel to Kolkata to take over as East Bengal’s new coach as soon as the pandemic situation improves across the country.