Right from the time he joined the team in 1969 to his retirement in 1983, nobody could challenge Socorro Coutinho for his rightful place on the left side of defence, despite the arrival of new coaches and players over the years and the change of formations. The former Shantilal player was just about five foot something and looked an unlikely figure in a defence manned by tall and strapping backs, but he always remained a hard nut to crack. It was his arrival that gave Dempo the extra bit of zest to push for the big trophies. Even in the state team, Coutinho was irreplaceable, representing Goa at 15 national championships and captaining the state twice. It is almost criminal that he was never considered for India duty, simply because the powers that be believed he was too short for international football. Had they given him a chance, he might have proved them wrong.