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FC Goa sign Brazilian striker Rafael Coelho

Rafael Coelho Luiz (FC Goa)
Rafael Coelho Luiz (FC Goa)

Photo courtesy: FC Goa

FC Goa have officially announced the signing of Rafael Coelho Luiz for the rest of the Indian Super League (ISL) Season 2 as a replacement for Victor Simões de Oliveira.

Rafael, who started his career with Figueirense, played for the likes of Vasco da Gama and Avai FC in Brazil besides having the experience of playing in Asia. He featured for Guangzhou R&F FC and Changchun Yatai FC in the Chinese Super League besides having a spell with Buriram United FC in the Thai Premer League.

Head coach Zico is yet to access the new striker to his satisfaction of when the player is able to play his first game for FC Goa after arriving from Brazil on Wednesday, while having problems with the striking department for the Goan side’s next match against FC Pune City on Friday.

Darryl Duffy has suffered from a hairline fracture to his shin in the match against Mumbai City FC, Reinaldo has an ankle injury and Victorino Fernandes has a groin injury while CS Sabeeth too is not a 100 percent.

This leaves Zico with the options of Joaquim Abranches, who hasn’t played a single minute in this season’s ISL, and Thongkhosiem Haokip currently available at his disposal.

“I am very happy for the opportunity to be here. All my team-mates received me very well. I hope to give my best and help the team to become champions. I have a lot of trust and confidence in the team after seeing how the team is working very hard and I hope to do my part as well,” said Rafael on being the latest edition to the Gaurs’ family.

Given his fitness, Victor Simões was expected to be the team’s main striker. He scored a couple of goals in FC Goa’s pre-season in Dubai and was Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli SC’s joint top scorer in the 2011-12 Saudi Professional League with 43 goals in 58 games.

Zico too had earlier acknowledged, “It is a pity because Victor Simões is such a good player. I know him for so many years. We tried to help him recover from his injury. We will miss him in our team because he could have been a very good asset.”