From defensive improvement to getting the best out of the youth: Josep Gombau's task at Odisha FC analysed
Odisha FC will aim to hit the ground running under head coach Josep Gombau in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season after the Spaniard returned at the helm for his second stint with the club.
Gombau, who gave the Odisha FC fans a season to remember in the Hero ISL 2019-20 campaign, has been re-appointed on a two-year deal.
Ever since their inception in 2019-20, Odisha FC have struggled to make the top four spots and would hope to achieve that goal in Hero ISL 2022-23 under Gombau who has been their best managerial appointment till date among the four bosses that have taken charge of th club.
Renowned for the incredible youth setup, the Juggernauts will be a perfect fit for Gombau as he has had the experience of working for arguably the world’s best youth academy - La Masia of FC Barcelona. The Spaniard will bring to the fore a distinct identity and reshape the club ahead of the new season with several youth prospects in the circuit.
Let’s have a look at the key tasks Gombau will take at Odisha FC:
Fortifying the defense
The defense stands as the most vital priority of all for Gombau. The Kalinga Warriors have conceded goals in heaps across the three seasons. To move forward, to be considered among the frontrunners ahead of the new campaign, the Bhubaneshwar-based club need to sort out their backline, only then can the club hope to challenge for the title.
Having conceded 43 goals in the Hero ISL 2021-22, 44 goals in 2020-21, and 31 in 2019-20 - Gombau’s first season with Odisha FC - the 46-year-old has already brought the club’s first foreign signing in Carlos Delgao, who will probably lead the team's defensive line.
Working around homegrown talents
Time and again, Odisha FC have produced a marvelous pool of talent who have thrived in the Hero ISL not only for the Juggernauts but for other clubs as well. Gombau, having enormous experience of working with fresh talents and bringing the best out of them, has a bag full of them in Sahil Panwar, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Gaurav Bora, and several others.
2️⃣ QUICK GOLAZOS, 1️⃣ SCORER: JERRY MAWIHMINGTHANGA💥@JerryMawia10 scored a brace in his last game of the last season and he's opened his account with yet another brace against Mumbai City FC tonight!🔥#OFCMCFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball | @OdishaFC pic.twitter.com/dku6yJJHmj— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) January 3, 2022
Bringing his own style of play to the fore, Gombau will be key in integrating new signings with the current and young players. Bringing a unique identity to the club with his gameplay, he will be largely involved in developing a heightened game sense for the youth through the senior players in the team.
Playing attacking football
The Kalinga Warriors might be down the pecking order when it comes to scoring goals but the team has shown they have the potential to be threatening. With the right set of players under him, Gombau can turn Odisha FC into an attacking powerhouse. With a set brand of attacking football, the players will thrive under him.
#OnThisDay in 2021, @OdishaFC and @sc_eastbengal put up an astonishing display of football! 🔥— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 27, 2022
OFC 6-5 SCEB stands as the highest scoring game in the history of #HeroISL! 💥#LetsFootball #OdishaFC #SCEastBengal pic.twitter.com/NlMXoHz8ia
Polishing and refining the players to his tune along with suitable replacements for outgoing players, and a dynamic midfield, it will be a step forward in the right direction for Odisha FC under Gombau, with eyes set for nothing below a semi-final finish for the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.