Lobera, Mumbai City’s head coach, to step down; Des Buckingham will take over

Sergio Lobera (head coach of Mumbai City’s ISL-winning side) will step down to join City Football Group (CFG), as he continues his coaching career. The defending champions were announced this Friday.

Des Buckingham, the A-League Champions Melbourne City FC’s CFG-owned head coach, will take over Mumbai City in the 2021/22 season with a two-year deal.

Lobera joined the club as a member of the October 2020 team. He was responsible for the most successful campaign in Mumbai City’s history, when the club became the first ISL League winners’ shield and ISL trophy-winning team. This double feat took place in the 2020/21 season.

Des Buckingham, an Englishman, joins the team from Melbourne City FC. He was the assistant coach to Patrick Kisnorbo and helped the club win the A-League Premiership as well as the Championship double. He was a valuable contributor both on and off the pitch. In the absence of Kisnorbo he took charge of the team three times during the 2020/21 season, which saw him achieve a perfect record of winning.

Before joining Melbourne City, Des was the youngest A-League coach. He took over Wellington Phoenix at 31 years old. After a stint with Stoke City’s U-23 squad, he became the head coach of the Phoenix. Des served as the assistant coach to the All Whites First Team’s first team for a short time, and was the U-20 and U23 head coaches in New Zealand.

Des led the New Zealand U-20s into the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019. Then, they lost to Colombia in penalty shootout. Des was named the 2020 New Zealand Football Awards’ Men’s Coach of the Year for his outstanding work in the country.

Kandarp Chandra is the CEO of Mumbai City FC. He said that Des is an energetic young coach with years of experience. His experience at City Football Group makes him a well-respected coach. This will ensure that our team is able to continue their success as we enter preseason. We believe that Des is the right choice to represent Mumbai and can’t wait for him to join us.

Sergio is a very dear friend and we are sad to say goodbye. Sergio was an integral part of the club’s most successful season and helped us to build great foundations for the coming year. “He is greatly admired and respected at the Club, and will always be a welcome guest in Mumbai,” Chandra said.

Des Buckingham stated, “I am delighted to be joining Mumbai City during such a successful time in the club’s history.” I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Australia and the chance to become the ISL Champions was a great opportunity. I look forward to my arrival in India, learning as much about the Club, players and culture as well as continuing to work with CFG colleagues to develop our young players. This will help drive the team forward both on and off the pitch. Des will soon arrive in India and will be subject to the required quarantine. He will then join the Mumbai City bubble in Goa for pre-season preparations in advance of the 2021/22 campaign.