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Sergio Lobera steps down as Mumbai City coach, Des Buckingham takes over

Reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Mumbai City on Friday announced that Sergio Lobera will step down as their head coach after a successful one-year stint with the club.

The club’s new head coach will be Des Buckingham, who is associated with sister club and A-League champions Melbourne City. A media statement issued by the franchise said that he will join the Islanders before the 2021-22 season on a two-year contract.

Buckingham will arrive in the country soon and undergo a scheduled quarantine before joining the Mumbai City bubble in Goa to begin pre-season preparations ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Lobera will continue his coaching journey with City Football Group (CFG), which owns Mumbai City, Melbourne City and English Premier League top team Manchester City, the statement said.

Lobera joined the club in October 2020 and oversaw the club’s most successful campaign to date, when the Islanders became the first team in ISL history to secure both the League Winners Shield and the trophy.

Englishman Des Buckingham was Patrick Kisnorbo’s assistant coach, helping the club win the A-League premiership and championship double, the statement said.

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

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

He guided New Zealand Under-20s to the round of 16 at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup before being knocked out by Colombia in a penalty shootout.

Kandrap Chandra, CEO, Mumbai City FC said, “We are delighted to welcome Des to Mumbai City. He is an exciting youth coach who already has years of experience.”

“Sergio was a big part of the most successful season in the club’s history and it has helped lay the great foundation for us to build on this year.”

Buckingham said on his part, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia, but it was impossible to turn down the opportunity to take control of the defending ISL champions.”

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