Confirming the reports that were doing the rounds on Friday, Indian Super League club FC Goa announced on late on Saturday that they have mutually parted ways with head coach Sergio Lobera, along with his assistants Jesus Tato and Manuel Sayabera.
In a statement on their website, the club said they “would like to thank Sergio and his coaching team for their service over the last two and a half seasons and wish them well for the future.”
The move comes as a surprise to many with FC Goa currently at the top of the table in the sixth edition of ISL with 30 points from 15 games. FC Goa are considered one of the best clubs in the ISL, renowned for their style of football and under Lobera, had won the Super Cup last year and finished runners-up in league.
Club President Akshay Tandon said in a statement that, “I wish to thank Sergio and his team on behalf of everyone involved at the club for the work they’ve put in over the past few seasons. Our objectives when Sergio came in were to instill a style of football and build a platform on which we would move forward as a club and we managed to achieve that consistently.”
In his statement on Instagram, the 43-year-old Spaniard said, while he accepted the club’s decision, it left him and his team ‘really unhappy’.
“We obviously respect the club’s decision, in the exact same way we respected the decision to hire us thereupon. However, we admit to be really unhappy about this decision because we will not be able to enjoy and share with the team the greatest moments we are sure are yet to come,” Lobera’s joint-statement with his assistants read.
The Goan club are favourites to top the league this year, which would assure them of an AFC Champions League slot for them under the new regulations in Indian football.
“The management was worried about the direction in which the team was heading. There were plenty of internal issues which were distracting the team from its goal of finishing on top and winning the ISL trophy,” the Times of India had quoted a source as saying.
Lobera oversaw 56 matches for FC Goa and led to wins in 29 of those, with his team scoring an average of 2.07 goals per game. He joined the Gaurs leading into the ISL 2017-18 season, taking over the reins from Brazilian legend Zico.