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FC Goa coach Zico, accompanied by Beto, was greeted by fans upon his arrival at the Dabolim Airport on Monday. Sudesh Bhosle | NT

‘White Pele’ sets foot in Goa

PANAJI / VASCO: Brazilian football legend Zico arrived in the state and was received amid much fanfare at the Dabolim airport on Monday. He will be unveiled as the manager of Football Club Goa, the state’s franchise in the forthcoming Indian Super League, on Tuesday.
The 61-year-old Arthur Antunes Coimbra, nicknamed ‘White Pele,’ reached Goa along with Dempo SC’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes Silva (Beto) and was received at the airport by FC Goa chief coordinator Alberto Colaco and officials of Goa Football Association as fans thronged the international arrival terminal to catch a glimpse of the former footballer, one of the all-time greats in the game. The legend, wearing a pair of denims, striped casual shirt and a blazer, spent a few minutes at the VIP lounge and later was ushered to a five-star resort.
Zico, also called O Galinho (The Little Rooster), was one of the biggest stars of world football in the early 1970s and late 80s and scored 48 goals in 71 international appearances for Brazil. He is the fourth highest goal scorer for his national team.
As a coach he had stints with national teams of Japan (2002-06) and Iraq (2011-12) besides being at the helm of club sides like Kashima Antlers of Japan (1999), Fenerbahce of Turkey (2006-08), CSKA Moscow (2009) and Al Gharafa of Qatar (2013-14). Zico’s most impressive stint was in Japan where he helped transform the game after taking over from Frenchman Philippe Troussier in 2002, and guided the team to the 2006 World Cup where they got eliminated in the first round. He also guided the team to an Asian Cup title in 2006. Zico has said that he wants to make a similar impact in India as he had in Japan. “When I went to Japan, I was not aiming to be a champion, but to give them the culture of professional football. Of course, it takes time; nothing happens overnight. But it’s a start. I hope India is the same,” he said.
Zico will be assisted by Dempo head coach, Australian Arthur Papas and conditional coach and analyst Hussein Skenderovic in his new Asian assignment. The team’s foreign players, Jan Seda, Miroslav Slepicka, Bruno Pinheiro, Miguel Herlein, Edgar Marcelino and Gregory Arnolin, arrived on Sunday and will join their Indian teammates – all Dempo SC players – in training in a couple of days. Zico is likely to visit Tilak Stadium in Vasco, which will be used as club’s training ground, on Tuesday, September 16.
The FC Goa foreign recruits are already feeling at home as suggested by a tweet from Herlein. “Great time with teammates! New experience begin (sic) @GregoryArn15 @ArthurPapas #FCGoa,” the Portuguese striker tweeted, while also posting a picture with his new teammates.

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