The Spaniard opened up on his departure from the ISL outfit, young players at the club, future and more.

Josep Gombau was among the highly-reputed coaches in India, despite failing to win any silverware during his time. Back in 2018, Delhi Dynamos (now Odisha FC) had landed the Spaniard from Australia. The move had raised many eyebrows. However, Gombau proved his worth in months.

During his incumbency of two years in the subcontinent he developed several young players at the club, putting into practice his football principles. After a couple of seasons in Indian football, Gombau made a decision to part ways with the club, much to the sorrow of fans. In a recent interview with Goal, he revealed the reasons behind his departure.

“It was an excellent experience in India. I and my family had a very good time. I was happy with Delhi Dynamos and subsequently with Odisha FC. The club offered me a contract extension, but I had to decline it. My two kids are six and eight years-old. In Delhi, we had good schools. But, things were different in Bhubaneswar. We could not manage the things in the way that we would have liked to.”

“It is necessary to provide my kids with the best possible education. Last season, my family was in Delhi and I was in Bhubaneswar. I do not want this kind of life. I put in a lot of thought. Unfortunately, things cannot change. So, I decided to leave,” said Josep Gombau.

Everyone is aware of Odisha FC’s rich youth development policy. However, this doctrine came in place during the two-year tenure of Gombau. They brought up many budding talents like Shubham Sarangi, Gaurav Bora and Vinit Rai. While many blame this ideology for having backfired and hindered the playoffs dream of the Bhubaneswar-based side, the former head coach doesn’t seem to regret it.

“At Odisha, I was working with a group of promising players. They worked extremely hard. They always wanted to learn a lot and were intelligent. A coach wants his players to be hungry and I had no complaints. We had five U-23 players in the squad on every matchday. If they were not good, they wouldn’t have made it,” he said.

“Gaurav can become one of the best central defenders. For that, he has to improve physically. He has good game-reading skills and is also good with the ball. Vinit is also good. Shubham has a lot of potential. Then there is Jerry (Mawihmingthanga) and Nandha (Nandhakumar Sekar). I believe each of them can go on to play for India,” he further added.

During the recently-concluded season of the Indian Super League, Odisha FC enjoyed an excellent campaign notwithstanding the sluggish start. Matchday 13 at the Kanteerava Stadium showed them an upheaval with Aridane Santana, the top scorer and Marcos Tebar, the captain picking up injuries and the former getting sidelined for the remainder of the season. The Spanish tactician feels this was the point after which their campaign throttled.

“We had the momentum with us. At a crucial point, we lost both Aridane and Tebar. He is not only a striker who scores goals but also links with the midfield and his movements create a difference on the pitch. Also, Marcos was our captain. He led the game from the back. These were two major disappointments. We could have done better with them. But, this is football. You have to deal with the injuries and move ahead,” said Josep Gombau.

As reported by Khel Now, the 44-year-old has agreed terms with David Villa’s Queensboro FC, who play in the USL Championship in the US, which is yet to receive an official seal.

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