With familiar faces and a newly shaped squad, Odisha FC look to begin the Hero ISL 2022/23 season on a positive note. Under the new Head Coach, Josep Gumbau the club named their first team for the Durand Cup. The side’s journey ended after bowing out in the Quarter Final against Mumbai City FC.
Last season, under head coach Kiko Ramirez and later on under the assistant coach Kino Garcia who eventually became the head coach following Kiko’s departure, Odisha FC finished seventh in the league table – leaving a lot of room for improvement in the upcoming season.
Odisha FC have reappointed Josep Gombau as the Head Coach of the team on a 2-year deal. This marks Josep’s return to the Juggernauts after a brief spell of two seasons. The Spanish tactician is all set for a return to Odisha. Josep Gombau was in charge of the team in the 2019-20 season where he tasted a lot of success and became a fan favorite based on his style of play which was based on having possession of the ball at the majority parts of the game. It also included playing an attractive brand of football which also brought results.
Odisha FC are going into the new season with a host of familiar foreign players and some newly recruited foreigners. In defense, versatile Australian defender Osama Malik and Spaniard Carlos Delgado will be guarding the club’s backline. 25-year-old Spanish midfielder Saul Crespo will be the one orchestrating the midfield, and he will be assisted by another experienced Spaniard in Victor Rodriguez. Ahead of them, Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio and Spanish striker Pedro Martin will lead the attack up front.
New Domestic Signings
The club has some top-quality Indian Footballers on its roster. And they have added some more in the form of Amrinder Singh, Michael Soosairaj, Narender Gahlot, Lalthuanmawia Ralte, and Niraj Kumar. Nikhil Prabhu who was on loan at Hyderabad FC last season has returned back to the club.
The Juggernauts also signed Raynier Fernandes on loan from Mumbai City FC and Denechandra Meitei from Kerala Blasters FC.
The domestic roster too had an overhaul as the club saw the departure of Vinit Rai, Arshdeep Singh, Gaurav Bora, Daniel Lalhilmpuia, Kamaljit Singh, and Ravi Kumar. There are some other players too who departed the club and have now signed for the I-League sides.
Odisha FC have started the pre-season early. The team has a coach who knows the league well. The Juggernauts have also added Indian players with experience in playing and winning the ISL in recent times. Also, there are many players in the team who’ve all mostly worked with coach Josep Gombau earlier.
The defense was an issue last season, and Odisha FC needs to fix that quickly if they want to get their desired results this season. The full-back position is very weak with limited options. Also, there are no experienced Indian CB backups for Narender Gahlot. Also, Victor Rodriguez didn’t play the whole year.
Odisha FC Possible Starting XI
Odisha FC have not made it to the ISL playoffs ever since it rechristened itself in 2019. They will have a good chance this year, as six teams are set to qualify for the knockouts. Coach Josep Gombau is back with Odisha after some time away from India, but he does know the league well and will look to start the season on the right note.
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