The upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will witness seven of the eleven head coaches or managers coming from Spain, three from the United Kingdom and one from Hungary. In fact, the distribution of head coaches over the years has seen 13 from Spain, 13 from the United Kingdom, 11 from England, and 2 from Scotland.
The appointment of Spanish coaches has been a trend for the past seasons and it has continued this time as well. This time Manuel Marquez signed with Hyderabad FC, Kibu Vicuna signed with the Kerala Blasters and Gerard Nus joined forces with NorthEast United FC.
ATK Mohun Bagan, FC Goa and Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, have retained their respective coaches, Antonio Lopez Habas, Juan Ferrando and Carles Cuadrat respectively. Owen Coyle (Jamshedpur FC) and Sergio Lobera (Mumbai City FC) have moved to new teams in the ISL and will be hoping for a fresh start.
New entrants SC East Bengal have gone on to sign former Liverpool FC striker Robbie Fowler with Stuart Baxter signing for Odisha FC. Csaba Laszlo becomes the first Hungarian head coach/manager to sign in the ISL with Chennaiyin FC.
Let's take a deeper look at all eleven coaches in the Indian Super League this season.
ISL head coaches and managers for the season
#1 Sergio Lobera - Mumbai City FC
The Spaniard takes charge of Mumbai City FC following his success with FC Goa. Such was Lobera's impact on The Gaurs that a host of his former players has signed with Mumbai City for the upcoming season. Lobera has been known to prefer an attacking-based style of play and has some of the best players in Asia at his disposal for the upcoming ISL season.
#2 Antonio Lopez Habas - ATK Mohun Bagan
Having guided ATK to the title in 2014 and the 2019-20 seasons, Antonio Lopez Habas is somewhat of a legendary figure in the ISL. The 63-year-old has now been put in charge of the new ATK Mohun Bagan side which has retained a core group of players. From the outset, the Mariners are the favorites to claim the title this season.
#3 Carles Cuadrat - Bengaluru FC
Similar to his employers, Carles Cuadrat prefers continuity and consistency from his Bengaluru FC team. The 52-year-old, who initially started as an assistant to Albert Roca, took over the reins of the club following the latter's departure. Cuadrat will be hoping for a repeat of the 2018-19 season where Bengaluru FC became the first team to secure the ISL League Winners Shield and the ISL Championship together.
#4 Manuel Marquez - Hyderabad FC
With 32 years of managerial experience under his belt, Manuel Marquez comes into the ISL with high expectations. Having managed several clubs in Spain and Thailand, Marquez will take charge of a Hyderabad FC side that finished last in the previous season.
#5 Owen Coyle - Jamshedpur FC
Owen Coyle arrived as the Chennaiyin FC coach amid the club's slump last season. The Scot's arrival marked a change in the system and there was an improvement in results almost immediately. He will now take charge of Jamshedpur FC, a place where he has had a pre-season to impose his ideas on the team.
#6 Kibu Vicuna - Kerala Blasters FC
Kibu Vicuna comes into the ISL on the back of winning the I-League title with Mohun Bagan the previous season. The Spaniard also finds himself taking charge of a Kerala Blasters unit with some phenomenal players such as Gary Hooper, Bakary Kone, Sahal Abdul Samad, Rahul KP, and Nishu Kumar. Despite a 3-1 loss in a friendly against SC East Bengal, big things are expected from Vicuna this season.
#7 Stuart Baxter - Odisha FC
Scotsman Stuart Baxter comes into the ISL on the back of a rather successful outing with the South African national team. However, the Indian league is a completely different ball-game. Baxter has managed to lure in a few good players such as Marcelinho, Steven Taylor and Cole Alexander ahead of the season.
#8 Juan Ferrando - FC Goa
39-year-old Juan Ferrando comes into FC Goa coaching role after it was vacated by a highly successful Sergio Lobera. Although these are big boots to be filled by Ferrando, the Spaniard has a fairly decent squad at his disposal. Ferrando has also decided to give youth a chance with the likes of Phrangki Baum and Ishan Pandita being a part of the squad as well.
#9 Csaba Laszlo - Chennaiyin FC
Following the heartbreak of the final loss to ATK last season, Chennaiyin FC have taken a rather interesting approach this time around. The appointment of Csaba Laszlo and a shoe-string budget have witnessed a few unheard-of names entering the ISL this season. It remains to be seen whether this approach would work for the Chennai-based outfit this season.
#10 Robbie Fowler - SC East Bengal
Following a bit of drama and ownership issues surrounding the club, SC East Bengal finally made it into the ISL and appointed Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler as their manager. Despite not having the time he needs to impose his philosophy on the side, Fowler has a good squad with which he can challenge for a playoff spot. East Bengal were successful in their first pre-season friendly with a 3-1 win over Kerala Blasters.
#11 Gerard Nus - NorthEast United
At 35, Gerard Nus is the youngest manager in the ISL this season. Despite not having a lot of experience with head coaching under his belt, Nus has worked with some of the biggest names such as Liverpool FC academy, Brighton & Hove Albion and the Ghana National team as well. It will be interesting to see what happens with NorthEast United this season.Published 11 Nov 2020, 15:23 IST