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Kozhikode, July 19: Brazilian Djair de Miranda Garcia has long been associated with Indian football and the fitness trainer, who has previously coached the likes of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and ATK, has landed in Kozhikode to train Malabarians.

Garcia, who was a left-back during his playing career back in Brazil, is known for his in-depth knowledge of Indian footballers, and his strict fitness regime. The Brazilian’s stint with Indian clubs started in 2008 as he was roped in by Chirag United FC. He also had commendable stints with Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.

Garcia training Gokulam Kerala FC players

“I have been working in India for the past ten years. I have worked in football-crazy Kolkata all these years and now I am in another city, where football means a lot,” said Garcia.

Though he is working in Kerala for the first time, his association with the State date back to his career at Kolkata clubs. “I have worked with Kerala players previously. I have trained several players such as VP Suhair, Jobby Justin, Sushanth Mathew, Asif K, Dhanraj and Denson Devadas while working in Kerala. Kerala players are talented and hard working. They have never caused any problem for me,” he said.

For Garcia, it has always been about different challenges. “I like working abroad and specially in India.  This country has a huge potential in football. The standard of the game has gone up drastically in the last ten years. But still there is a lot to develop,” says Garcia.

“When I came here, the clubs were not interested in investing in infrastructure. Now the mentality has changed. Now almost every club has their own facilities. The mentality of the players has also changed a lot as professionalism has crept into,” he said.

According to him, a player should mould their fitness from childhood onwards. “It is like any other skill. You have to be professional. Grassroot coaches should have a sound knowledge of the science behind fitness. The players should also work hard to be professional. In Brazil the clubs provide all these. Such a system will help you to bring up physically fit players,” he opined.

Garcia has high hopes for the upcoming season. “I bring luck to clubs. First time I went to Mohun Bagan, we were able to win I-League. We won Federation Cup. With East Bengal, we won the Kolkata League. So this year I believe Gokulam can win silverware. Here there is good atmosphere, talented players and a determination to win trophies,” he said.

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