A source has revealed that the 66-year-old stands as the club’s first choice for the vacant position.
Odisha FC are on the look out for a new head coach ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season and Khel Now has learnt that former South Africa national team manager Stuart Baxter is the club’s first-choice to take the helm next season. The club are in talks with the Englishman, who has been in a managerial role for the last 25 years. Moreover, a source close to the development has revealed that he is the club’s first choice for the vacant post at the moment.
The 66-year-old has managed a variety of different teams in his tenure after a moderately successful playing career. His most recent assignment was with South Africa, with whom he did wonders last year in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
He ensured that they made it out of a tough group before pulling off a stunning upset win over Mohamed Salah’s Egypt to progress into the quarter-finals. The run was widely considered as Bafana Bafana’s best performance in a tournament in the 2010s as well. However, he resigned as their boss back in August 2019 and has since been without a job.
Moreover, Stuart Baxter also enjoyed success with South African club Kaizer Chiefs, guiding them to win two Premier Soccer League (top-division) titles in 2012-13 and 2014-15. Of recent, he is reportedly also linked with a return to the Chiefs. The Englishman also worked as the manager of the England U-19 team from 2002-04, consisting of Premier League stars like Stewart Downing, Wayne Routledge and more.
Odisha are perhaps looking at a change in philosophy after Josep Gombau left the club after the recent ISL campaign. This is the first time that Odisha are looking towards roping in an English coach. Moreover, Baxter is well known for his work with 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations.
Josep Gombau was their longest-serving coach after being at the helm for two seasons and almost helped them qualify for the playoffs last season. However, after missing out on the top-four spot again, Odisha are looking for a coach with the pedigree to succeed in the ISL and suppose Stuart Baxter fits the bill.