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Exclusive: FC Pune City sack head coach Antonio Lopez Habas

Written by: Mrunal Nakashe


The Spaniard has parted company with the Stallions after just a season at the helm and is believed to be on the radar of an unnamed MLS club...

Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Pune City have sacked head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, Khel Now can confirm. The Spaniard leaves the club after just one season in-charge in which the team failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Habas' departure just weeks before the start of the cash-rich league's new season will come as a shock to the Stallions faithful. But, sources close to the developments have told Khel Now that the tactician, who is believed to be on the radar of an unnamed MLS club, was at loggerheads with the club's management for some time. It is understood that Habas was unhappy with a number of proceedings at the club and that these differences had now made his position untenable. 

Habas had come west to Pune on a two-year deal at the beginning of last season after a successful spell with Atletoco de Kolkata (now ATK), during which he won the title in the league's inaugural season in 2014 and lost in the playoffs to eventual champions Chennaiyin FC in the following campaign.

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However, he was not able to repeat the same magic with the Stallions as they finished with just 16 points including four wins and draws each as well as six defeats that saw them in sixth place, comfortably off the playoff places. In truth, apart from occasional glimpses of brilliance from individual players, his first and as it now turns out only season with Pune was a stop-start affair that failed to get going.

After failing to make the last four in any of the three seasons so far the Maharashtra club have understandably been busy in the transfer market ahead of the new campaign. With a lack of goals a key problem over the years, the team has sought to bolster their attacking options this time around. Their high profile acquisitions include former FC Goa ace Jonatan Lucca, ex-Delhi Dynamos sensation Marcelinho and NorthEast United striker Emiliano Alfaro.

With Habas gone, apart from more additions to their already star-studded squad, Pune will also be looking for a new head coach. However, no names have come to the fore yet to fill the role. But, a replacement is expected to be named in the coming weeks. Club officials remained unavailable for comment.

Published: Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:53 AM IST


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