Head Coach profile: Sergio Lobera making a strong case for Hero ISL trophy
After three fairly successful seasons in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) with FC Goa, Spanish head coach Sergio Lobera is ready to embark on a new journey, this time with Mumbai City FC.
“The opportunity to work with Mumbai City FC and City Football Group in the next chapter of my career was also a big attraction of the role and I am impressed by the infrastructure, connectivity and thinking that goes across all of their clubs around the world,” Lobera had said after joining the Mumbai-based club.
Lobera joined FC Barcelona as part of their coaching staff in 1997 after catching the eye with Dosa Salesians and UFB Jabac Terrassa. His stint with Barcelona’s youth academy saw him guide the Alevin A side to an unbeaten run for two consecutive seasons in the Futbol 7 Preferente league. He was then named manager of Barcelona’s C-team in the 2006–07 season in the Tercera División before being appointed Director of Sports at Terrassa FC in June 2007, where he also donned the role of manager for the final seven games of the campaign.
After stints with CD San Roque de Lepe and Spanish Segunda B outfit AD Ceuta, he returned to Barcelona in 2012 as assistant to the late Tito Vilanova. However, his second stint with the Catalan giants was short, with Lobera joining Segunda Division side UD Las Palmas a month later.
The Spaniard enjoyed moderate success with the Canarians, leading the club to sixth on the league table. He moved out of Spain for the first time in his career to join Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan where he led them to a strong 2015 African Champions League campaign. Moghreb got through the preliminary round for the first time in their history.
In June 2017, Lobera was announced as the head coach of FC Goa, making his debut in a win over Chennaiyin FC. In his first season with the club, the Spaniard led them to the playoffs and did one better the next season, losing to eventual winners Bengaluru FC in the 2018-19 Hero ISL final. He did, however, win the club’s first silverware in the form of the Hero Super Cup when FC Goa beat Chennaiyin FC in the final in 2019.
The 2019-20 Hero ISL campaign was quite eventful for the Spaniard. As FC Goa sat atop the league with one good performance after another, he left the club through mutual agreement, with the season still underway.
Lobera’s attacking philosophy really shone through at FC Goa: they were the league’s top scorers for three consecutive seasons. Having brought in a number of attacking players as well as his best players from FC Goa to Mumbai City FC, Lobera might finally go all the way and win his, and the club’s first Hero ISL trophy this time around.