Kolkata, June 27 (IANS) I-League football club Prayag United have signed up Costa Rican international medio Carlos Hernandez, the top scorer in the Australian A League last year, for the forthcoming season.
The Costa Rican's presence will boost the club's target to break into the top three spots in the I-League and a place in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup this season. Hernandez has signed a one-year deal with Prayag, who finished seventh this season.
Besides Hernandez, the club has also roped in Subrata Paul, Gouramangi Singh and Ranti Martins.
Expressing happiness for getting a chance to play for Prayag United, Hernandez said he was looking forward to the new challenge.
"I know the current condition of the Indian football and its position in the world arena and I don't care about it... I have already discussed it with my Costa Rican coach and he backed me to grab this opportunity," he said at the signing ceremony.
"I am looking forward to this new opportunity and challenges. It has indeed been a big decision to move to India, but I feel that there is this huge zest and enthusiasm for football here. I am excited to be part of this excellent team and hope to contribute to the success of the team in the coming season," Hernandez said.
Apart from marshalling the midfield, he is also adept in a strikers' role but said it was for the coach to decide his playing position.
"My coach will decide where I will play in the field, but I can score goals for my team from any part of the field."
Talking about his new team and its players, the Costa Rican said: "I know about the club, its projects and the players. I already had a formal conversation with the assistant coach.".
Asked whether he was a bit over the hill, the 30-year-old said he still felt young. "And my national team still needs me for my experience to win titles".
The Costa Rican international has also been in the Melbourne Victory, an Australian A-League club. He was the top scorer of the last season with 10 goals, totalling 36 goals in 122 games in five seasons of Australian A-League. He has also been the recipient of Johnny Warren award for best player in the Australian A-league for 2009-10.
Hernandez has also played in the U-20 World Youth Championship held in Argentina. He also represented the country in the U-23 team at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Hernandez had been capped for the senior national team on 30 occasions, playing for the team during the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Hernandez, who idolises French soccer great Zinedine Zidane, was now looking forward to enjoy the Indian conditions and the soccer played here.
" I would like to enjoy India with my family and of course the football here," he said.