Who are the coaches of the Hero Indian Super League 2021-22?
As most of the teams have started their preseason or will be starting it in a few days, let's have a look at all the coaches of this edition of the Hero Indian Super League.
The season of football has arrived in India. The Hero Indian Super League is about to kickstart from the 19th of November. Most of the ISL clubs have either started their pre-season or have participated in the Durand Cup or are yet to start their pre-season. Before the season starts, let's have a look at the eleven coaches of all the eleven teams. For some, it has been quite some time in India whereas a few of them have recently arrived to this country.
In this edition of the Hero Indian Super League we will witness six Spanish, one Serbian, one Montenegrin, one Scottish, one German, and finally an Indian coach. Here's a look at all the coaches of the eleven teams.
Antonio Lopez Habas
Antonio Lopez Habas has been in Indian football since 2014, first with ISL franchise Atletico De Kolkata, then moving on to Pune City FC, then again with ATK, and now currently with ATK Mohun Bagan. He is known to be one of the most successful coaches in the Indian Super League who has won the competition twice, once in 2014 and the other in 2019-20. Habas' style of play has changed as the years have gone by. When he first started at Atletico De Kolkata, he usually played with four defenders at the back. But ever since 2019, he has shifted to a 3-5-2 formation with three central defenders, two wing-backs, two defensive midfielders and one or two forwards upfront. His team were the runners-up the last season and reached the inter-zonal semifinals in the AFC Cup. Missing both the league winners shield and the trophy last time to Mumbai City FC, the Mariners would be looking forward to capturing them in this edition after making iconic signings like Joni Kauko, Deepak Tangri, Liston Colaco, and Hugo Boumous.
Bozidar Bandovic - Chennaiyn FC
Bozidar Bandovic, a Montenegrin who was in charge of the Thai outfit Buriram United has now been given the responsibility to guide the two times champion Chennaiyin FC in this edition of the Hero ISL. The performance of Buriram United under his coaching would surely make the Chennaiyin FC fans smile their heart out. At his stint in Buriram United, the team had won 79 matches out of 120, drawn just 19 and lost 22. In his four seasons at the club, Buriram United have won the Thai League twice in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Bandovic was also announced as the Manager of the Year in 2017-18. Bandovic usually prefers a 3-5-2 formation but predicting his formation at Chennaiyin FC wouldn't be appropriate at this moment, as he has to settle down with his available squad first. But keeping in mind the quality Chennaiyin FC possess, it may not be difficult for the players to adjust accordingly in their gaffer's preferred formation and system.
Ivan Vukomanovic - Kerala Blasters
Ivan Vukomanovic was appointed by Kerala Blasters FC in the month of June. They also started their pre-season quite early in the first week of August. Vukomanovic's side participated in the 130th edition of the Durand Cup and weren't able to qualify to the quarter-finals. The team won just their first game, in which their only goal was scored by Adrian Luna from a penalty earned by Sreekuttan V S. The team's performance wasn't up to the mark in the Durand Cup, though it may be estimated that the Kerala outfit missed most of their foreign signings in this tournament. Vukomanovic usually prefers playing in a flat 4-5-1 formation. At Kerala Blasters FC, he'll also be dealing with a few young talents so how he implements his philosophy is to be looked at. Before starting his tenure at Kerala Blasters FC this season, he worked with clubs like Apollon Limassol and Slovan Bratislava, and Standard Liege. The Manjappada would be looking forward to their Serbian boss as to how he manages to rejuvenate the team in the Hero ISL.
Juan Ferrando - FC Goa
Juan Ferrando's performance as the FC Goa gaffer has been one of the best in the previous edition of the Hero ISL. The Gaurs won seven out of their twenty league games, drew ten and lost just three. They finished at the fourth spot and made their way to the playoffs where, unfortunately they lost to Mumbai City FC in the second leg in a tiebreaker. They also appeared in the AFC Champions League, where though they couldn't win a single game, but performed pretty well. The Gaurs are currently participating in the Durand Cup and they will be playing Bengaluru FC in the semi-finals on the 29th of September. Juan Ferrando usually plays with a preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and likes to work with young talents. He has that ability to bring out the best from footballers. Glan Martins is just one example who has improved himself a lot under Ferrando and has also grabbed his place in the Indian National Team. It is pretty evident from Ferrando's approach in this Durand Cup, that he would be targeting the trophy or the shield or both in the upcoming ISL.
Khalid Jamil - Northeast United FC
Khalid Jamil is the first-ever Indian head coach at a Hero Indian Super League team. Last season he was initially the assistant coach to Gerard Nus and later on went on to become the interim head coach. Under his guidance, North-East United reached the playoffs in style as they sealed victories causing major upsets during the course. Jamil, as a coach showed tactical flexibility and depth. The team played eleven matches under his coaching and won six, drew four and lost just one game. The North-East United team management has now made him the head coach and how he delivers shall be witnessed by the entire Indian football circuit. The previous season Jamil made North-East United play a 4-3-3 formation. It is estimated that he wouldn't be changing his formation this time around.
Kiko Ramirez - Odisha FC
The Spaniard was brought in as the head coach of Odisha FC in the month of July. Ramirez was previously associated to clubs like AO Xanthi, CE Sabadell, Wisla Krakow, CD Castellon, CE L'Hospitalet, Gimnastic and Pobla de Mafumet CF. Though his track record for the past three seasons do not look enthusiastic enough, it is difficult to predict the success of a coach or a footballer in India. The Juggernauts will be looking forward to giving their best this season after finishing at the bottom of the table in the previous season. How Kiko Ramirez's men perform will be interesting, as like most other coaches in the Hero ISL and throughout the world he uses a 4-2-3-1 formation. Odisha FC play their first match against Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan on 24th November.
Manuel Marquez Roca - Hyderabad FC
Manuel Marquez Roca has perhaps been one of the most impactful coaches in Hero ISL 2020-21. The manner in which he transformed the Hyderabad FC team into a well-oiled machine is really appreciable. It is really unfortunate that the team just failed to qualify for the playoffs, but they were well-deserving of a spot. Manolo uses a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation and synchronizes very well with young Indian footballers. Hyderabad FC have produced a lot of quality Indian footballers last season who stole the limelight successfully. The project on which Hyderabad FC is currently working, Manolo seems to be the perfect man to lead the club. The hunger for the playoffs and perhaps the trophy/shield or both will be more this season, as they have really bagged in some excellent footballers who can create a difference.
Manuel Diaz - SC East Bengal
SC East Bengal announced the name of Manuel Diaz just a few minutes after they officially declared that Robbie Fowler wouldn't be continuing as the head coach. Manolo, as he is called in Spain, was in charge of Hercules CF before joining SC East Bengal. He has also worked with Real Madrid Castilla, Real Madrid Academy, Ponferradina, Real Madrid C and Navalcarnero. In his very recent stint at Hercules CF, the team performed well enough. They won five, lost five and drew 3. Although his preferred formation previously was 4-4-2, it probably would change at SC East Bengal. His team may play a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-2-1-3, or a 4-1-4-1. The club hasn't achieved much glory for the past few years and the fans would be hoping for a better season compared to last year.
Marco Pezzaiuoli - Bengaluru FC
Pezzaiuoli is the only German coach this season at the Hero ISL. He was appointed by the Bengaluru FC management in the month of March. The team's performance wasn't up to the mark last season and as a result, Carles Cuadrat was sacked. Naushad Moosa served as the interim head coach till the end of the season. Marco took charge after the ISL was over, and led the team in the AFC Cup group stages.
Pezzaiuoli was fluid with his team in the AFC Cup, as he used a 4-2-3-1, and 4-3-3 formation. The expectations from the coach will be very high as BFC are known for winning trophies, and its been two years since they laid their hands on some silverware. The coach almost has a new foreign contingent, and has signed many young players like Danish Farood, Bidyashagar Singh and Jayesh Rane who could be the key for BFC's season.
Owen Coyle - Jamshedpur FC
The Scottish coach was brought in last season by Jamshedpur FC on a two-year contract and the club was very close to reach the ISL playoffs for the first time under his leadership. The team won seven matches, drew six, and lost seven. Coyle's team played in a 4-2-3-1 formation last season and are expected to continue with the same. His main concern this season will be scoring more goals as the team only scored 21 goals in the previous edition of the Hero ISL, and as a solution to this problem, they have already brought in Ishan Pandita and Jordan Murray who will be increasing the scoring options for Jamshedpur FC along with the poacher Nerijus Valskis upfront.
Des Buckingham - Mumbai City FC
Des Buckingham replaced Mumbai City FC's head coach Sergio Lobera ahead of this upcoming edition of the ISL. Talking about the 36-year-old, Des Buckingham's coaching career may leave one awestruck. He became the youngest head coach of the A-League in 2016/17 at Wellington Phoenix when their head coach Ernie Merrick resigned from his job. Prior to that he was an assistant to Merrick. Buckingham also took charge of the then English Premier League club Stoke City as the assistant coach of their U-23 team. Buckingham joined Melbourne City FC, another club under City Football Group in September 2020 as their assistant coach and took charge on a few occasions when their head coach Patrick Kisnorbo was absent. In his tenure at the club, Melbourne City FC won both the A-League trophy as well as the Premiers Plate. Apart from the various clubs, Buckingham has also managed New Zealand's U-23 side as well as been an assistant to their senior team. In his tenure with the U-23 side, he led the team to the round of 16 of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019, where the team lost to Colombia in the tiebreaker. Under his guidance, the All Whites went on to register a 5-0 victory over Honduras. They won back to back games at a FIFA event for the first time, when in their next encounter they defeated Norway by 2-0, a team which enjoyed the like of Erling Haaland upfront. This was New Zealand's first ever victory against a European opponent. In 2020, Des Buckingham was awarded with the Men's Coach of the Year award, which is a major feather to his crown.
Follow The Bridge - Football on Twitter: @bridge_football