Confirmed: Derrick Pereira named as the coach of India's U-23 football team
Derrick Pereira has officially been named as the coach of India’s U-23 football team on Wednesday. The former Indian player will take charge of the team very soon.
Former Indian national team coach Stephen Constantine, who was in charge of the U-23 team, has decided to step down after the AFC Asian Cup as the country was eliminated from the group stage.
Immediately after Constantine’s departure, Pereira was zeroed in by the AIFF for the job. As the Technical Director of Indian Super League team FC Goa, it also gives him ample time to focus on the U-23 team.
Initially, it was thought that the responsibility will be given to Shanmugam Venkatesh, who was an assistant to Constantine in the national team and knows most young players better than others. But unlike Pereira, he didn’t have a Pro-coaching license, which is mandatory to qualify for the job.
This will be first time that Pereira will be coaching the national team – albeit the U-23 team. But he has a vast experience of coaching at various domestic clubs and nurtured many talented young players.
Having played for Salgaocar during his playing career as a defender, Pereira’s first coaching experience was with Vasco, whom he managed for five seasons. After that, he took the now-defunct Mumbai-based team Mahindra United and won the National Football League in his first season.
That established him as one of the premier coaches of the country as he went on to manage Pune FC, Salgaocar, DSK Shivajians and Churchill Brothers for the next few years before being appointed as the head coach of FC Goa Reserves team.
During his time with Pune, he managed young talents like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Amrinder Singh, Anas Edathodika etc who went on to made of name for themselves in the game later.
His two decades of coaching experience and handling countless young players finally landed him the dream job. He will cherish the fact that most of the young players of the country have the experience of playing at the senior level under Constantine.
India will kick-off the 2020 AFC U-23 qualifiers against Tajikistan on March 22, before taking on hosts Uzbekistan and arch-rivals Pakistan on March 24 and 26 respectively.