Indian football and ISL is a good place to work for coaches: Odisha FC’s Sergio Lobera
Sergio Lobera boasts a strong track record of success in the Indian Super League (ISL), and the Spanish coach is determined to uphold that record with his new club, Odisha FC.
Sergio Lobera boasts a strong track record of success in the Indian Super League (ISL), and the Spanish head coach is determined to uphold that record with his new club, Odisha FC.
After a stint in China, Lobera is making his third foray into Indian football, having previously been associated with FC Goa and Mumbai City FC.
The Spaniard has cultivated an intricate understanding of Indian football and has been consistent in delivering a captivating style of play during his previous assignments in India. His teams are renowned for their exceptional ball control, pressing, and ability to break down the opponent's defence with a quick exchange of passes.
In an interview with Sportskeeda, Lobera opened up about taking the reins at Odisha FC and shared what influenced his decision to accept the role.
“I've worked with City Football Group (CFG) for the last few seasons. It was a very good experience. But after this, I had the opportunity to have a meeting with Abhik (Chatterjee, general manager) and Rohan (Sharma, owner). After this conversation, I felt like this was a place where I could work because it's a very good project with very good people. My feeling, at that moment, was that I wanted to work there. The club is growing every day and it is amazing to be a part of this family,” Lobera told Sportskeeda.
In addition to appointing Lobera, the Kalinga Warriors have secured the services of Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, Amey Ranawade, Lenny Rodrigues, and their latest signing, Cy Goddard. Each of these players have previously collaborated with the Spaniard and is well-acquainted with his style of play.
The 46-year-old sheds light on his transfer strategy and the fundamental idea behind it.
“When you are building a new team in a short time and have players who you know very well and they know you, it's easy to implement a style of play or an idea. It's helpful for me as a coach and also for the team to have players and persons I have worked with before,” he said.
A very exciting season awaits the Bhubaneshwar-based side as they are all set to compete in the AFC Cup for the first time in their history. Besides making their debut in Asian competitions, Odisha FC is determined to perform well in the ISL.
“All the competitions are important but we obviously have special feelings for the AFC Cup. It is a very exciting competition for us, we are representing the country. We are trying to achieve something important in this competition,” Lobera stated.
When asked about replicating the glory days from his previous club at his new club, he said, “That is in the past and in football you need to focus on the present. People forget very easily. Every game is important for us and it will be very special for me to win a trophy with Odisha. It is a big challenge that I have accepted and hopefully, we can achieve this.”
Indian football have been on an upward trajectory, and the new regulation, which permits only four foreigners in the playing XI, has not only provided Indian players with increased game time but also greater exposure to the league.
“Indian football is growing every day. The rules are also helping the players to grow. Every year we are using less foreign players although I believe it is also necessary to use them to increase the level of Indian players. It means a lot when a lot of people want to return to work here. It means that it's a good place to work,” he commented.