Sergio Lobera joins Mumbai City FC in search of maiden Hero ISL trophy
Former FC Goa boss Sergio Lobera has been appointed as the new head coach of Mumbai City FC for the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season. The Spaniard, who led the Gaurs to the Hero ISL 2018-19 final, will be taking over the reins of the Islanders from Jorge Costa, who parted ways with the Mumbai-based outfit back in March.
Lobera arrived on Indian shores after he was appointed FC Goa's head coach for the Hero ISL 2017-18 season, taking over from Brazilian legend Zico. The former Barcelona youth team coach almost immediately inculcated his philosophy on the team, transforming them into one of the most entertaining and offensive units in the country.
He enjoyed a very productive debut campaign, guiding the team to the semi-finals before being knocked out by eventual champions Chennaiyin FC. Hero ISL 2018-19 saw Lobera do one better as Goa reached the final before eventually losing out on the title to Bengaluru FC in extra time. His first silverware, however, soon followed as Lobera guided the Gaurs to the trophy in the Hero Super Cup 2019 later in that season.
In the Hero ISL 2019-20 campaign, Lobera laid the groundwork for Goa finishing top of the league table and securing a historic AFC Champions League spot. The Spaniard, however, couldn't see the work all the way through as he, quite surprisingly, parted ways with the club in February only a few matches before the conclusion of the league stage of the competition.
In Lobera, Mumbai have secured a master tactician with a proven track record in the Hero ISL stage. In the 56 Hero ISL matches Goa played with Lobera at the helm, the Gaurs won 29, drew 11 and lost 16. The phase also saw the team score over 110 goals - a glowing testimony to his attacking philosophy. Furthermore, the Spaniard ensured his team reached the semis in every campaign he managed the team - a sort of consistency the Islanders have been desperately looking for.
Besides being a shrewd tactician, Lobera has also proven himself as a terrific mentor to young players, with the likes of Brandon Fernandes, Seriton Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues and Manvir Singh being prime examples. With a new club for the upcoming season, Lobera will be aiming high with the Islanders, and if all goes according to plan, then the Spaniard will not only be able to secure his first Hero ISL trophy in four seasons, but also Mumbai City FC’s first trophy since the inception of the league.