Spanish coach Fernando Santiago Varela has returned back to Gokulam Kerala FC as the head coach of the team for the upcoming season. The Spaniard had a brief stint with the Kozhikode-based club a year ago but had to return back to his home country due to personal reasons before the I-League season started.

“It is a great honour to be back. I had some unavoidable circumstances in Spain and had to leave before the I-League started. Now I am back,” Varela is quoted as saying by a press release.

Settled in Barcelona, Varela has previously coached Catalalan club CF Gava before joining Gokulam Kerala FC last year.

“We will be vying for top honours this season. Already the players have started fitness sessions and now I will oversee the training sessions. We have to prepare well for the Durand Cup. It is great to be back here and now I have got a historic tournament as my first assignment,” said Varela.

“Gokulam will aim high this season with the foreign coach and his expertise in football will surely help us to aim for glory this year. The coach came late because there was some delay in getting the visa. He is now ready. It is great to see him back with Gokulam and we expect a good start this season,” said VC Praveen, Gokulam Kerala FC president.

The club had a tough 2018-’19 season, finishing ninth among the 11 teams with three wins in 20 matches.