Ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL 2023-24), Odisha FC have announced former ISL Shield and title winner Sergio Lobera as their new head coach on a 2-year deal, the club announced on Wednesday.
The Spaniard, who has coached FC Goa and Mumbai City FC in the past, will look to guide Odisha FC to even greater heights after a successful campaign for the club during the 2022-23 season. The Eastern Dragons qualified for the ISL playoffs for the first time since inception and later ended the season by winning the Super Cup 2023, which was the first silverware for the club.
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The Spanish coach spent a total of four seasons in India, with three of them being at the helm of FC Goa. Lobera joined the Gaurs in 2017 and immediately made an impact, leading the team to the ISL playoffs for three consecutive seasons.
In his final season with FC Goa, Lobera’s efforts bore fruit as the team reached the playoffs and clinched the League Shield, finishing at the top of the table. This remarkable achievement showcased Lobera’s ability to build a cohesive and competitive squad capable of challenging for top honors.
Furthermore, Lobera’s success extended beyond the league campaign. In 2019, he guided FC Goa to victory in the Super Cup, solidifying their status as one of the premier teams in Indian football. This triumph highlighted Lobera’s knack for motivating his players and extracting the best out of them on the grandest stages.
After his successful stint with FC Goa, Lobera moved to City Football Group-owned Mumbai City FC ahead of the ISL 2020-21 season and went on to achieve more success with the Islanders. Mumbai City FC secured the League Shield and the ISL title that season under Lobera, becoming the first club to achieve the double.
After a successful season in India, Lobera took up a new challenge with fellow City Football Group side and Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu. This will be Lobera’s third stint in India and having made a name for himself in India, Odisha FC will be confident of challenging for top honours under his tutelage.
Speaking on Sergio’s appointment, Club President Raj Athwal said, “We are delighted to welcome Sergio to the OFC family. His appointment is an important moment for the club which signifies the direction and aspiration we want to head towards.”