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Top five managers who moved clubs in Indian Super League

Published at :April 21, 2022 at 2:18 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

JN Balraj

Some enjoyed the best time with their new side but it back-fired for others.

Just a few weeks ago, Jamshedpur FC won the Indian Super League 2021-22 League Winners' Shield, surprising everyone in the country. The triumph was a shock for many big guns of the transfer window, and it also broadcasted the fact which is not talked about enough in modern football. 

The latest Shield Winners demonstrated how much the coach is important for a team. A good coach can win silverware with an average squad but it’s not vice-versa. As the league wrapped up its eighth edition, the focus now shifts to things off the pitch in Indian Football. 

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Like every season, there are teams looking for managers who can either lead them to glory or build upon the good work done. Former ISL managers, Eelco Schattorie, Albert Roca, and Jorge Costa are rumoured to return to the league. Before the rumours either get blown away or get true, let's look at the top five coaches who jumped clubs in the top flight of Indian Football.

5. Eelco Schattorie

Eelco Schattorie
Schattorie took NorthEast United to the semis in ISL 2018-19 (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The Dutch tactician took NorthEast United FC to their first-ever semi-finals in ISL 2018-19 season and became an instant favourite in India. Eelco introduced Bart Ogbeche to the Indian Super League who is now the highest goal-scorer. The development of Rowlin Borges and other Indian players under him was another good thing in his stint with the Highlanders.

Consequently, the manager jumped to Kerala Blasters in the next season and formed a formidable squad, at least, on paper. He brought in Bart Ogbeche with him along with the then iconic duo of Sergio Cidoncha and Mario Arques from Jamshedpur FC.

The move did not go as planned for both the coach and the club as they finished in the seventh position that season. Owing to that Eelco did not get further contracts in India.

4. Steve Coppell

Steve Coppell
Coppell holds the distinction of coaching three different ISL clubs (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The English coach has managed three clubs in the Indian Super League consecutively from 2016-to 2019. In the 2016-17 season, Steve Coppell led Kerala Blasters to the finals in his maiden season in India. In astonishment to everyone, the following season he took over as the head coach of Jamshedpur FC, the debutants in the league. He also led the way for Farukh Choudhary to join the Men of Steel and he eventually became a fan favourite there.

Jamshedpur FC failed to qualify for playoffs after losing the must-win last game against FC Goa. Again declining the offer to stay, Coppell shipped his base to Kolkata-based club ATK. He again failed to qualify for the semifinals and eventually lost his stature in the country.

3. Juan Ferrando

Juan Ferrando
Ferrando activated his release clause to join ATKMB from FC Goa (Courtesy: ISL Media)

When Sergio Lobera left FC Goa in the 2019-20 season, the club were under a lot of pressure to find a replacement that would match the stature of the departing Spanish manager. As they found out soon enough, replacing someone who won them the first-ever ISL League Shield was by no means an easy task. 

At long last, FC Goa announced young coach Juan Ferrando to build from the scratch and lead the side in AFC Champions League. It was always going to be difficult for him to fill the void left by Lobera, especially after not being able to retain the core players. But Juan did well by leading the side to the playoffs and played some attacking ball. The team’s performance in the AFC Champions League was the biggest positive for him.

But the tables turned in the following season after three losses in the first three games, and FC Goa was in deep trouble. On the other hand, after similar suffering, ATK Mohun Bagan’s coach Antonio Habas resigned, and seizing the opportunity Juan Ferrando jumped to the Mariners camp for the remainder of the season.

With ATK Mohun Bagan, he averages astonishing 2.06 points every game and will look to win a silverware in the next season after his extension at the club.

2. Owen Coyle

Owen Coyle
Coyle took Chennaiyin FC to the ISL final and Jamshedpur to the ISL Shield (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Owen Coyle took charge of the bottom-placed Chennaiyin FC in ISL 2019-20 season and led them to their third ISL final. The Marina Machans were winless in the first six games and were struggling to score before the magic spell Owen Coyle cast. 

At the end of the season, the Scottish Manager was not happy with the one-year extension he received and hence took over at Jamshedpur FC on a two years deal. This appointment proved to be a fortune turner for the Men of Steel as they won the most prestigious silverware, League Shield, in the second season under him.

Owen Coyle also helped in the development of a bunch of Indian players and instilled the never complaint mentality in them. The likes of Farukh, Boris Singh, Ritwik Das, Dinlaina, Ishan Pandita, and others have improved under his prodigy. Owen Coyle decided to return back to Scotland ending the Indian chapter of his life in the best possible way.

1. Sergio Lobera

Sergio Lobera
Lobera is the only manager to complete a league double in ISL (courtesy: ISL Media)

Sergio Lobera is undoubtedly among the best managers the Indian Super League has ever got. The Spanish tactician was sacked in between the ongoing ISL 2019-20 season owing to differences with the management. With FC Goa he won the Super Cup and almost won them the League Shield as the team was favourite to win the league under him.

Lobera was the hot topic in the very next season and after a boat-load of rumours he ended up at Mumbai City FC. He became the first coach in India to complete the double of League Shield and Trophy. 

With the backing of City Football Group (CFG), Sergio Lobera gave Islanders the stature of heavyweights in the league and built a squad capable of doing miracles which are evident in the ongoing Champions League campaign. 

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