The name itself suggests that this isn’t about anyone else but that one man who is the only gaffer to have won all the top club competitions of Indian football he’s ever put his foot on, Sergio Lobera Rodriguez.
Around the world people turn out to be football coaches or managers once they have plied their trade being a footballer and when time calls turn into managers once their playing careers sees an end. But very few handpicked ones have a long vision that their destiny lies elsewhere. That was the story incase of Lobera when he recognised that his talent is better utilised not in playing but making the professionals play their best brand of football and thus at a tender age of 19 he kicked off his managerial career in an academy known to be the talent factory which produced diamonds of not just Spanish but world football, ‘LA MASSIA’. lobera started as the manager of the Barcelona Youth team while he was just 19 in the year 1997 and later got promoted to coach the U-18’s of Barcelona in 2006 where he stayed for one season before quitting the job.
After one full year without any footballing action Lobera got his first breakthrough to manage a senior team when he was offered the reigns of Terrassa, a club playing in the Segunda division R in Spain. There on got an opportunity to manage several clubs in spain including working as the Assistant manager of the spanish giants Barcelona in 2012 and then managing Las Palmas untill 2014 from where the Spaniard travelled outside spain for the first time for managing a club named Moghreb Tetouan in Morocco, and went on to coach the side from 2014 to 2017.
And then came the big break of his career when the Indian Super league side FC Goa approached him to fill the managerial position in the club which was left vacant by Zico. And thus started the ‘Lobera Era’ in Indian football.
Lobera served the treat of spanish football on Indian soil when his FC Goa came out as a commendable force in the ISL and every team had to put an out of the box performance to stop them. With a display of a dominant spanish attacking football he made his FC Goa side a nightmare for his opponents which also rewarded him with his first ever silverware when FC Goa clinched the Super cup title in 2018-19 season which stamped Lobera’s arrival in Indian football. Destiny had something else in store for him, when the very famous City football group set their foot on Indian soil by purchasing the stakes of Mumbai City FC adding an Indian club to the list of many clubs under their belt and they chose Lobera to be the perfect fit to coach a star studed line up of their newly acquired entity.
Their assumptions didn’t go wrong as Lobera proved them right by winning the first ever league shield in the ISL followed by ISL trophy itself which is the most auspicious prize in Indian club football at the moment with Mumbai city FC in 2020-21 season of ISL. The season proved the mettle of Lobera who was already making headlines among the football fans in India for his attractive style of football and the Championship win assured the fans that Mumbai city FC is in safe hands and are all ready for the Asian challenge when they step on turf to compete for the top prize in Asian club football the AFC Champions league amidst the rumours that Lobera would be sent to manage another club owned by City football Group in another part of the world.
And the news that came out a few days back as an official statement released by the social media handles of Mumbai City FC certified those rumours when they announced that Lobera wont be their manager for the upcoming Hero ISL 2021-22 season and the AFC champions league as Lobera and the club decided to mutually part ways, and announced the former Melbourne City FC assistant coach Des Buckingham as the successor of Lobera at Mumbai.
This brings an end to the Lobera brand of football in India atleast untill he decides to make a return to Indian club football. But as of now he has already made his way to explore greater heights of world football even when his new assignment is yet to be disclosed.
Only time will tell if Lobera will have the same amount of success he’s been able to dwell in India and if someone else can ever create a footballing masterclass that beats and replaces Lobera’s brand of football.