Odisha appoints Sergio Lobera as the new head coach ahead of ISL 23-24
Ahead of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season, Odisha has officially confirmed Sergio Lobera as the new head coach of the club. The former Goa and Mumbai City head coach will join the 2023 Super Cup winners after winning two ISL League Winners’ Shield and the ISL trophy as well in the trophy-double winning 2020-21 ISL season.
The Juggernauts have secured the most important signing of the season and will now be turning their focus towards the transfer window after securing crucial extensions of Diego Mauricio and Amrinder Singh.
Club president Raj Athwal welcomed the celebrated coach to the club saying, “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. The club would like to wish Sergo the best for the upcoming season.”
Lobera came to India for the first time in 2017 as Goa appointed him as the head coach and the Spaniard instantly delivered as he took the Gaurs to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
In the 2019 Super Cup, Lobera helped the Goa-based side win their first trophy after just falling short in the 2018-19 ISL final courtesy of a 112th minute-goal by Rahul Bheke as Bengaluru won 1-0. After he got the rub of the gold, Lobera continued and went to win the ISL League Winners’ Shield as Goa comfortably topped the league table.
Ahead of the 2020-21 ISL season, Mumbai City raided Goa and acquired the services of their head coach Lobera, club captain Mandar Rao Dessai, Ahmed Jahouh, and Mourtada Fall. The Islanders then went on to win the double of the ISL League WInners’ Shield and the ISL trophy as Lobera ended his fourth season in Indian football with all three major trophies in the bag.
The former Las Palmas manager will be looking forward to his third stint in India and the Juggernauts would be hoping to finally win the ISL trophy in the 2023-24 season. The 46-year old head coach said, “I am very happy to be part of this family and I am very excited to be a part of this project. I am sure that together we will achieve success while enjoying the journey. Thanks to the club owners for this opportunity.”
With the experienced stalwart joining the club for two seasons as he has put pen to paper until the end of the 2024-25 Indian footballing season, the Bhubaneswar-based club is expected to snap up multiple signings like Nandhakumar Sekar and a couple of overseas players to strengthen the squad ahead of the big season.