IndianFootball.Com Interview: DOUGLAS da SILVA

East Bengal Club's Brazilian midfielder Douglas da Silva started his career back in Brazil at Palmeiras in 1984. Later on he played for some of Brazil's most high profile clubs including FC Santos, Corinthians, Botafogo before joining the successful East Bengal side. His career at East Bengal has seen him win the ASEAN Club Cup, two National League titles and further titles. We spoke to Douglas about his career, life at East Bengal, Indian football, East Bengal-Mohun Bagan derby and the recent controversey regarding contract issue.

Tell us bit about your background, your personal life?

I come from Brazil as you all know. I come from a very good & well to do family, I have my parents and a sister in Brazil, a younger brother playing football in Goa (Marcos Rogerio Secco at Fransa FC), and of course a beautiful daughter.

When and how did you start playing football?

I started playing football since 1984, it was Palmeiras Club in Brazil that gave me a good break.

What's your biggest achievement in your footballing career?

As a child I would also dream of playing in the same club where the greatest player of the world, Pele played for, it was in 1995 that this Santos FC from Sao Paolo signed me.

How did you come across East Bengal?

It was through my friend, Jose Barreto (former with Mohun Bagan) that I got to know about East Bengal.

What were your expectations and ambitions of East Bengal as a club and Indian football, when you joined East Bengal?

Of course there was a big difference playing in Brazil and playing in India. But East Bengal being one of the best teams in India was not too bad. Indian football has improved alot over the years.

What are your comments on East Bengal fans? Any particular incident that comes to your mind?

Yes East Bengal have alot of supporters, fans, etc. They have been very supportive, especially when I was off the field for about 3 months, they had the confidence that I would come back as the same Douglas what they knew.

Douglas, you have been an influential member to this highly successful East Bengal team. How do you feel about it?

I take great pride in saying, I am an East Bengal player. From the time I started, East Bengal has won all possible titles.

A word or two about your East Bengal team mates, the coach, management and staff?

My team mates are very cooperative and understanding. I have had a few problems with the coach, management and staff mostly because of miscommunication. And I personally think all Club officials should have more football knowledge or should be more football educated.

Which championship do you cherish the most and why?

The Asean Club Cup. It was a great achievement. It was in this tournament that I was in great form.

With East Bengal consistently playing among the elite of Asia and doing well in Asia and National League, do you think East Bengal has set a standard for other Indian clubs to follow?

Yes of course. All other Clubs should follow the footsteps of East Bengal.

What's your opinion on East Bengal's management proposal to hand out long term contracts to players?

East Bengal's management should be more professional in terms of contract.

What do you think about the future of East Bengal in coming months?

East Bengal has a bright future. They should just keep up their good playing and of course hold on to their key players.

Which will be your best goal for East Bengal?

Of course all are my best goals but last year during the National League, the deciding title match against Vasco, it was a back volley goal. That has been by best for East Bengal.

Your view on Indian football? Do you think standard has improved in last couple of years?

Yes it has improved over the years but theres still alot of hard work needed.

Whom do you rate as best defender, midfielder, striker and goalkeeper in India?

In my opinion best defender would be Deepak Kumar Mondal (EB), Midfielder surely Jo Paul Ancheri (JCT), striker Baichung Bhutia (EB) and Goalkeeper Sandip Nandy (EB).

If given an opportunity to play for India, would you consider it?

Yes of course, in fact i have plans to live the rest of my remaining years in India.

What's your opinion on East Bengal-Mohun Bagan derby matches?

Definitely its a great match to watch. It feels great to know that your oponent is just as good as you. Its like when India plays Pakistan in Cricket.

What's the first thing in your mind when you see a stadium packed with East Bengal and Mohun Bagan supporters for the derby matches?

Firstly seeing a packed stadium can motivate you and bring out the best in you.

How do you think players handle the pressure of the derby?

Thats one thing the players are in alot of tension, so they need to work on that.

How do you rate your chances in AFC Cup? Do you think East Bengal will live upto its tag of title favorites for AFC Cup?

We have a good chance to win. Yes East Bengal will live upto its tag, we are very confident in bringing home the cup!

A word or two about life in India and Calcutta?

I really like to live in India. its a cheap place to live.

Thank you for your time in talking to IndianFootball.Com and best of luck for the future!

the interview was done by Rohit Goyal (April 2004)

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