A born winner, Cyril Ferrao was part of Clube Desportivo Chinchinim who won Goa’s first ever football league (Primeira Divisao) in 1951. Goa’s first NIS qualified coach, he was the automatic choice to guide Goa when they debuted at the Santosh Trophy in 1964 and Dempo couldn’t look beyond this Chinchinim man to guide their fortunes when the team was formed in 1967. Ferrao earlier made a big name for himself with coaching stint at Shantilal SC where he unearthed several stars.
The untimely death of Cyril Ferrao in 1971 led Dempo to search for his replacement and the club eventually settled for Joseph Rathnam. A former India coach, Rathnam had a long uninterrupted spell at the club for almost two decades, although in varied roles as coach, manager and technical director. It was Rathnam’s emphasis on team spirit and unity that helped guide Dempo to a plethora of titles.
The first foreigner to coach a club in India post-independence, Robert Bootland, affectionately called Bob, was a serial winner. He landed in Goa as a tourist in 1978 and was invited to watch Dempo play a Senior Division League match. A coaching offer was soon accepted by the Scottish and he ended up transforming the fortunes of the club with his innovative 4-3-3 formation. A stickler for discipline, Bob swore on the bible of fitness and had brief stints with the national team as well.
Known for his innovative tactics and, of course, the much talked about Diamond formation, Amal Dutta joined Dempo in 1981 and won the Senior Division League title unbeaten, losing only an inconsequential match against Sesa Goa (1-2) in the concluding game. Dutta has coached all three big clubs in Kolkata – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting – and was described as a tactical genius who pioneered professional coaching in India.
His positive tactics and commitment to bringing through youngsters makes him one of the better coaches that Dempo had, although GMH Basha had a brief stint at the club in 1982. It was Basha, a former India coach, who instilled self-belief within the players and inspired them to represent the country.
A former Mafatlal Mills SC coach, Maqbool Hammed arrived at Dempo in 1984 and had an almost instant impact on the team. Maqbool took Dempo on a whirlwind tour of India where the club won two trophies – Sher-I-Kashmir in Srinagar and Jalil Cup in Varanasi – but were unlucky to miss out on top honours in the Durand Cup and Rovers Cup where they narrowly lost to Mohammedan Sporting (0-1) and Salgaocar (0-1) respectively.
A former Dempo goalkeeper, Sampath took charge of the team in 1985 and found the going tough coaching players who had played alongside him in the past. The star goalkeeper who was part of the bronze-medal winning Indian team at 1970 Bangkok Asian Games later coached teams like Army Service Corps (ASC) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) in Bengaluru.
Renowned for his emphasis on fitness, Alberto Joannes helped Dempo break Salgaocar’s stranglehold on the Senior Division League in 1989. Archrivals Salgaocar had won the league twice in a row and were aiming for a rare hat-trick when Joannes salvaged Dempo’s pride by guiding a team full of youngsters to the league title.
He coached Dempo Engineering to devastating effect, including wins over Dempo seniors, to kick-start his coaching career and was rewarded with an offer to coach Dempo SC in 1992. The Dempo legend responded in style by winning the Scissors Cup in 1992 and 1994.
Probably the most decorated footballer to have coached Dempo, Walter Ormeno was the man who steered Dempo during the inaugural National Football League in 1996. A Peruvian by nationality and former goalkeeper for the national team, he even has a club named after him. During a long and cherished coaching career that started in 1964, Ormeno coached teams in Mexico and Gautemala.
Francisco Goncalves da Silva
The first Brazilian to coach any team in India, Francisco Goncalves da Silva, or Tico as he was commonly known, didn’t taste much success in the NFL, finishing sixth in 1997-98 and losing the Federation Cup semifinal to Salgaocar, who famously went on to emerge champions.
Having won the 1997 Federation Cup with Salgaocar and 1998 NFL with Mohun Bagan, TK Chathunni was tasked with the enviable job of winning Dempo their first NFL title but the former India defender didn’t last long. He quit even before the start of the 1999 edition giving nobody a chance to judge his unique ability of signing young players and getting the best out of them.
He had little time to clear the mess that his predecessor left behind but Iranian coach Ahmad Sanjari couldn’t be faulted for lack of effort when Dempo got relegated to the Second Division NFL in 2000. He kept faith in youngsters and was the man who transformed Samir Naik from a striker to one of India’s most enterprising full-back.
Dempo’s most successful coach of all time, Armando Colaco built a dynasty at the club since returning for a second spell in 2000. He has won the league a record five times and his all-conquering team that had five national players is regarded as one of the most exciting. As secretary of the club, he wielded enormous control.
Like Armando Colaco before him, Arthur Papas was involved in the decision making process at almost every level but could not replicate the same success. In fact, apart from a final appearance at the Federation Cup in 2015, the Australian tasted little success and parted ways before the end of his three-year contract.
Following the unexpected mid-season departure of Arthur Papas, Trevor Morgan was assigned the job of saving Dempo the drop in 2015. The battle sure went down to the wire but the man who gave East Bengal plenty of trophies had too little time to make an impact.
One of the chief proponent of the beautiful game, Mauricio Afonso was Armando Colaco’s deputy for many years. Whenever called into action, Mauricio delivered in style, including a famous 2-1 victory over Bahrain champions Al-Muharraq in the AFC Cup. The former India midfielder was handed complete charge of the team in 2015 in the Second Division and he repaid the management’s trust by steering the team back to the top.
Dempo’s longest serving player, Samir Naik took the reigns from Mauricio after an untimely illness saw his previous boss step down. Having served under the former coach as his Assistant, Samir has taken to the job like a fish in water. With a style of Football that encourages players to attack & press higher up the field, Samir Naik could see his reign as Head Coach eclipse his time as a player with the young coach being tipped for big things.