Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel ‘Manolo’ Marquez has signed a two-year extension which will keep him at the club till the 2022-23 season. The eccentric and emotional 52-year-old has given a new lease of life to the Nizams since joining in August last year and is now set to continue his love affair with the fans for two more seasons. Hyderabad are currently 4th on the Indian Super League (ISL) points table with four matches still to go in the league stages.
The Spaniard was roped in after Albert Roca chose to pursue a role under Ronald Koeman at FC Barcelona. Since coming in, Marquez has had a huge impact on the team’s overall gameplay as well as on the players at an individual level. Probably the most entertaining of all the head coaches in the ISL, he never shies away from a controversial question and usually has everyone in splits with his off-the-cuff comebacks.
On the field though, he has done a brilliant job. The team looks revitalized after a disappointing 2019-20 season where they finished bottom of the table and much of that can be attributed to the way he has integrated youngsters into the side. The likes of Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Mohammed Yasir, Liston Colaco and Hitesh Sharma have all been pivotal in this turnaround. However, his biggest achievement so far, has probably been in the way he has set his team up whereby every player knows his role perfectly and is accountable for each other’s performances.
Marquez himself says that he is happy to have signed the extension because it is a ‘very good project’. Even so, he is cautious in the way he sees things shaping up for Hyderabad next season. About the challenge of trying to keep improving, he said, “Sometimes the second year is more difficult than the first. This season, we are a surprise to the league but next season, I am sure will not be the same. There will be more pressure, but if we work hard, and strive to improve as we did in this season, we can surely have a good season, next year as well.”
Hyderabad FC co-owner Varun Tripuraneni seemed elated with the development as well. “We are extremely delighted that Manolo has signed a two-year extension with us. He took over a massive challenge at HFC and he has not only brought us and the fans’ delight with results on the pitch, but he has also brought in an attractive style of play,” he said before acknowledging the importance of having a level of continuity in the quest for sustainable success.