A number of tacticians working in India made headlines through their work in the outgoing year.

We are at the end of yet another year. The year will be remembered by Indian football fans for a number of reasons, ranging from India’s qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup to Mumbai City’s exceptional performance at the AFC Champions League. But moreover, the year also witnessed a tactical on-field battle between the coaches of many teams. These coaches tried their best to make their sides play good football in an attempt to bring glory.

Here, we will take a look at the top five managers who made eye-catching contributions to Indian football in 2022.

5. Owen Coyle

Owen Coyle at Jamshedpur FC last season. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The first manager to feature on this list is former Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle. Under his tutelage, Jamshedpur FC won the ISL League Winners’ Shield last season. Notably, it was the club’s first silverware. He assembled a wonderful team last season and roped in players like Daniel Chima Chukwu and Greg Stewart, with the latter bagging the Player of the League award as well.

In 2022 alone, under Coyle, Jamshedpur were on a seven-game winning streak. Moreover, out of 12 league games in 2022 (of the 2021-22 season), Jamshedpur won 10 games to finish on top of the table. However, after the season concluded, Coyle left Jamshedpur. Consequently, this season, the side is struggling a lot to find any kind of rhythm and is currently languishing in the tenth place.

4. Vincenzo Alberto Annese

The second person to feature on the list is two-time I-League-winning coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese. He is currently on the mantle of NorthEast United with a mission to get something out of a depressing season so far. In 2022, under his tutelage, Gokulam Kerala became the third club to win back-to-back I-League titles. In the process, he also became the third coach to achieve the feat, after Subhas Bhowmick (East Bengal) and Armando Colaco (Dempo SC).

Vincenzo also received the 2021-22 I-League Best Coach Award. Furthermore, under his watch, Gokulam Kerala achieved a historic 4-2 win over ISL side ATK Mohun Bagan in the 2022 AFC Cup group stage opener.

Following his success with Gokulam, NorthEast United have now appointed him as the side’s head coach after having a nightmarish start to their ISL 2022-23 campaign. The side got their first win of the season after his arrival when they defeated ATK Mohun Bagan at Guwahati on December 24, 2022.

3. Ivan Vukomanovic

Ivan Vukomanovic (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The head coach of Kerala Blasters is next on the list. He turned the tide at Kerala after coming in before the start of the 2021-22 season. Prior to the 2021-22 season, Kerala Blasters had a terrible campaign in which they finished 10th on the points table. Vukomanovic’s arrival changed the mentality of the club last season as they went on to become the runners-up. He made some brilliant signings in the form of Adrian Luna, Alvaro Vazquez, and Jorge Pereyra Díaz who radically changed the quality of football at the club.

Kerala Blasters began this season right from where they ended their last. The side is currently placed fourth on the points table. Even after the departure of stars like Vazquez and Diaz, the side is able to continue playing good football this season too. This is largely because of Vukomanovic’s scouting of players like Ivan Kaliuzhnyi and Dimitrios Diamantakos, players who have the ability to replicate last season’s magic.

2. Des Buckingham

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham is the next manager to feature in this list. He has been doing a wonderful job in Mumbai since his arrival and 2022 was no exception. What’s more, 2022 saw an Indian club finish second in an ACL group for the first time in history. The club was Mumbai City under the guidance of Buckingham. Under his tutelage, the Islanders have been playing wonderful football in a consistent manner. This was evident in their ACL campaign too.

The 2022-23 season has also embraced the magic of Mumbai City. Buckingham has made a ‘few’ exceptional signings in the form of Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Greg Stewart. He has also been instrumental in the growth of Indian talent under his watch. Consequently, the club is showing dominance in almost every game and is currently placed second on the points table. Oh yes, they are also the only team who are yet to face defeat in ISL 2022-23.

1. Manolo Marquez

Hyderabad FC players celebrating with Manolo Marquez after winning the ISL Trophy last season. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The pole position of this list goes to Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez. Under his tutelage, Hyderabad won their first league title at the end of the 2021-22 season. The side has been playing scintillating football since the last season. They have continued in similar fashion this season too, without showing any signs of complacency in their performance.

Hyderabad FC, under Marquez, have turned into a powerhouse of nurturing young Indian talent. The club has produced youngsters like Akash Mishra and Mohammad Yasir and re-established the likes of Halicharan Narzary and Nikhil Poojary, under the guidance of Marquez. The Nizams are currently placed on top of the ISL 2022-23 table and are showing a strong intent to win the ISL League Winners’ Shield.

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