FC Goa has named Spaniard Juan Ferrando as their new head coach for the upcoming season, who is now set to take over from his fellow countryman Sergio Lobera. Midway into the 2019-20 ISL season, Lobera had split ways with the Gaurs. Clifford Miranda had taken charge of the club for the rest of last season as their interim coach after he resigned. The job has now been given to 39-year-old Ferrando. In 2009, Juan started his coaching career at the Spanish club CE Premier and later went on to manage Malaga CF’s reserve team. From 2017 to 2020, he managed Greek club Volos FC and his tactics and football style took the club from the third division to the top tier in Greece.
FC Goa has had only 2 managerial changes in the last 6 years, which is the least by any club in the ISL. Their first coach was Brazilian legend Zico under whom the team had a Brazilian core. When Sergio Lobera took over from Zico, he changed the entire core of the team to a Spanish one. FC Goa shifted to a possession-based system. Lobera’s changes were implemented. Both managers preferred an attacking style of play, leaving FC Goa top of the all-time league table with 50 wins in 100 games and a total of 173 points.
Ferrando holds the UEFA Pro Licence, which is required for anyone who wishes to manage a football club in the top tier of any European League system permanently. While it is too early to come to a definite conclusion, Ferrando’s selection, on the face of it, seems to be arising from FC Goa’s plan to improve on the base Lobera has established since the 2017-18 season. In many ways, Ferrando is similar to Lobera. Ferrando is not only his compatriot but also young and willing to prove himself for a number of reasons. Moreover, Ferrando is an advocate of the Catalan school of football which Lobera also promotes. Ferrando also had a stint at FC Barcelona B.
The FC Goa spell is an opportunity where Ferrando will be very keen to prove himself because of the way he had to leave Volos. Ferrando has had an agonizing wait to return to football coaching after contracting a bacterial infection which saw him briefly losing vision in his eyes. His burgeoning prestige was such that even during the time when he was recovering, Ferrando attracted work offers. Yet before taking up Goa’s bid, he decided to concentrate on his recovery.
Goa has again opted for a name that is foreign to Indian football after choosing Juan. But his track record with Volos FC in Greece should boost the Goa faithful’s morale. If Ferrando starts hitting the right notes in the next season, then all credit will go to Goa’s think tank for having picked the best guy for the job once again.