Some of these tacticians enjoyed fair amount of success at many of their sides in India.
Since the inception of the Indian Super League (ISL), we have witnessed several top coaches from around the globe plying their trade on Indian shores. Starting from the legends of the game like Zico, Marco Materazzi, Roberto Carlos to the unknown names who turned out as master tacticians like Antonio Habas, Albert Roca, Sergio Lobera and so on, we have seen them all in this short span of time.
The ISL is still in its primitive stages, but the number of coaches that have come and gone is huge. But, only a few managed to stick around for a while and manage more than one team in India’s premier division.
Here is the list of coaches who managed more than one ISL team:
5. Miguel Angel Portugal
Portugal came to Indian shores with tons of managerial experience predominantly in his native Spain. Impressed with his resume, Delhi Dynamos brought him on board in 2017. While his possession-based gameplay was lauded by some fans, it was not yielding positive outcomes and as a result, they failed to make it to the playoffs that season.
The Spaniard was relieved of his duties by the Dynamos but his impressive style of play caught the eye of FC Pune City, as they hired him for the following campaign. However, things did not turn out well for Portugal there either, as he started poorly yet again. The Stallions did not wait for the season to end, as they sacked him after only three games.
4. Eelco Schattorie
A veteran in Indian football, Schattorie was a well-known face even before the inception of the ISL. He had already managed United SC and also had a brief spell with East Bengal. So, he had his ideas about Indian football. Therefore, NorthEast United were sure that the Dutch tactician was the right man for the job.
Schattorie had a terrific season with the Highlanders, as he guided them to their first ISL playoffs in the 2018-19 term. His team even defeated Bengaluru FC in the first leg of the last four tie, but the Blues came back strongly to knock them out. Impressed with his stint at NorthEast, Kerala Blasters roped him in the following season.
However, the Dutchman failed to replicate his form at the Southern club, as the Blasters finished seventh in the points table, 10 points behind the last playoffs spot. The team were marred by injuries and a lack of form, but this led to the club parting ways with him at the end of the season.
3. Nelo Vingada
When highly-experienced Portuguese tactician Nelo Vingada joined NorthEast United in 2016, Indian football fans had a lot of hopes from the “Professor.” He, in return, did not entirely fail to live up to the expectations, as he guided a young team and played a very attractive brand of football. However, just on the doorstep of the playoffs, the Highlanders lost their encounter against Kerala Blasters and finished two points shy of the top four.
His second season was rather contrasting, as he joined Kerala Blasters in 2019, midway through the campaign with the team languishing at the bottom half of the table. He tried to bring some positivity to a gloomy camp and impart some of his experience, but the Blasters could only win one out of the seven games that they played under Vingada’s tutelage.
2. Steve Coppell
One of the veteran coaches in Indian football, the Englishman is the only head coach who has been in-charge of three ISL sides. His introduction to Indian football happened in 2016, when Kerala Blasters appointed the former Manchester United legend as their head coach. That was his first and best season at the helm in the ISL. He led the Blasters to the final, where they lost to ATK in the penalty shootout, but it was a journey to savour for Coppell.
Impressed with his abilities, Jamshedpur FC hired the English tactician and the appointment bore fruit, as the Men of Steel finished fifth in the points table, their highest-ever finish. Lastly, he moved to ATK in 2018 and in a season full of ups and downs, he could only manage a sixth-place finish with the Kolkata outfit, but made amends by reaching the Super Cup semi-finals. However, Coppell left the club after his contract ended.
1. Antonio Lopez Habas
Another Spaniard on the list, but this time it is the most successful coach in ISL history. Antonio Lopez Habas joined the league in its inaugural season and guided ATK to the title. In his second stint, Habas again guided the team to a second-place finish. However, ATK were knocked out in the playoffs by eventual champions Chennaiyin FC.
After two successful seasons, Habas moved to FC Pune City in search of a new challenge. But, things did not go as per plan for the Spanish tactician, as the Stallions finished sixth in the league table which resulted in his sacking. However, in 2019, he had a homecoming as he returned to ATK and created history yet again. Habas guided the team to another league title, becoming the first coach to clinch two ISL titles and also inspiring ATK to become the only team to win three crowns.