Odisha terminates the contract of Kiko Ramirez; names Kino Garcia as interim head coach

Head Coach Kiko Ramirez and Odisha part ways midway through the season

Odisha has parted ways with head coach Kiko Ramirez with immediate effect after a poor run of results and performances following a good start to the ongoing Indian Super League season.

The club released a statement on Friday announcing that they have terminated the Spanish head coach’s contract in view of the recent performances.

“Odisha FC has terminated Head Coach Kiko Ramirez’s contract. This has been a very difficult decision and not one that the Club owners and management have taken lightly. After lengthy deliberation and consideration amongst the club’s technical committee, it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”

The statement from the higher management further thanked the Spaniard for his services to the club over the past few months.

“The Club would like to thank Kiko for his efforts and wish him the best for the future. The Club shall make further announcements in due course.”

The former Xanthi manager took charge of Odisha ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season and started off with two consecutive victories. A 3-1 win against 2018-19 ISL champions Bengaluru was a huge motivation boost before a resounding 6-4 win against East Bengal helped the fans witness a 10-goal delight.

Since then, the Juggernauts have suffered massive defeats like 6-1 to the high-flying Hyderabad, 4-0 to Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur, and two defeats to league leaders Kerala Blasters. Ramirez’s men have gone through a topsy turvy season though with a 4-2 win over reigning champions Mumbai City and three more wins so far indicating things could have changed for the better given a bit of time.

Apart from retaining the core of young Indian players, Ramirez signed ISL-winning attacker Javi Hernandez from ATK Mohun Bagan and also roped in foreign stars like former Real Sociedad and Elche striker Jonathas, former Real Betis and Levantes defender Hector Rodas, Aridai Cabrera, Liridon Krasniqi, and Victor Mongil.

Also read: Odisha captain Vinit Rai moves to the reigning champions Mumbai City on loan 

With the squad at his disposal, Ramirez was doing a fine job for a club that finished rock-bottom in the 2020-21 ISL season and could have completed the turnaround in their fortunes but Odisha would now be looking to get back to winning ways under the new head coach.

New Interim Head Coach Kino Garcia in the Odisha training kit

New Interim Head Coach Kino Garcia in the Odisha training kit

Former Assistant head coach and Current ‘Head of Football Development’ Kino Garcia has been handed the reins till the higher management finds a permanent successor to take the club ahead in the long term.

“Odisha FC would like to confirm the appointment of Kino Garcia as the interim Head Coach. Kino, who has a UEFA Pro License, has a lot of experience in developing players and is a former coach at Valencia CF’s youth teams.”

The club statement further stressed the experience of the interim head coach and his work with the youth teams in Spain like Valencia and Levante.

“He has coached many important players who are currently playing in the first division in Spain and also directed the Valencia CF Academy in Seoul. He also coached Levante UD in the first division of women’s football in Spain for several seasons. He is also the Director of Coaches in Valencia, working for the Spanish Federation. Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him and supporting him in every way possible.”

With three of the next four fixtures against bottom-half teams like NorthEast United, Goa, and East Bengal will be a relief for the club who would be looking to bounce back in fashion in the second half of the ongoing ISL season.