Indian Super League champions Mumbai City FC announced that Sergio Lobera will be stepping down as head coach to continue his coaching journey with City Football Group.

The club’s new head coach will be Des Buckingham, who joins from CFG-owned A-League Champions Melbourne City. Buckingham will join the Islanders ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season on a two-year contract.

Lobera joined the club in October 2020 and oversaw their most successful campaign ever, when the Islanders became the first team in ISL history to secure both the ISL League Winners’ Shield and the ISL Trophy, completing a double in the 2020-’21 season.

After a successful spell in India, Lobera will be leaving the country to join CFG to work on a fresh challenge.

Englishman Buckingham will be joining from Melbourne City FC, where he was assistant coach to Patrick Kisnorbo, helping the club in winning the A-League Premiership and Championship double.

He made a significant contribution both on and off the pitch, taking charge of the team on three occasions during the 2020-’21 season in the absence of Kisnorbo, in which he had a perfect winning record.

Prior to joining Melbourne City, Buckingham became the youngest coach in A-League history when he took charge of Wellington Phoenix at the age of 31, before a spell with Stoke City’s U-23 team.

He was also the head coach of New Zealand’s U-20 and U-23 teams as well the assistant coach to the All Whites’ first team for a brief period.

Known for his good work with the New Zealand age group sides, Buckingham led the New Zealand U-20s to the round of 16 in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup before bowing out to Colombia in a penalty shootout.

In light of his notable work in the country, he was named Men’s Coach of the Year at the 2020 New Zealand Football Awards.

“I am thrilled to be joining Mumbai City at such a successful period in the club’s history,” said Buckingham.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia, but the opportunity to take control of the defending ISL champions was impossible to turn down,” he added. “I’m looking forward to arriving in India and learning as much as I can about the club, the players and the culture and continuing to work with colleagues at CFG to develop our young players and drive the team forward on and off the pitch.”