FC GOA HAVE APPOINTED Juan Ferrando Fenoll as their head coach for the 2020-21 season.
Ferrando, born in Barcelona, is a former player and physical trainer whose career has been defined by overcoming massive odds. As a head coach, he has taken a lower division underdog side and promoted them to the top flight in record time. In personal life, he has overcome multiple health challenges throughout different stages of his career.
Back to back injuries made him quit as a professional player at the age of 18. He decided to pursue a coaching career, getting some early experience at Barcelona B. He was a physical trainer for Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas at Arsena, and by 2009 at the age of 28 took on his first full managerial role at CE Premia, a Catalonian lower league side.
He soon moved into higher profile clubs like Malaga's B team, before becoming the assistant manager at Sheriff Trisapol and was part of their remarkable European campaigns in UEFA Champions League Qualifiers and Europa League group stage.
Following stints at different clubs in Greece and Spain, he found major success at Volos FC. When he joined the club in 2017, they were playing in the third tier of the Greek football league system. On his first season, they won the league and got promoted to second tier. Next season, they became the champions again, entering the top division; Super League Greece.
Earning back to back titles and promotions made Ferrando a club legend. But his stay with the club came to an unfortunate end earlier this year; not because of any footballing reason, but due to a sudden illness that he faced.
According to reports, in December 2019 he got infected with a bacteria that severely affected his eyesight. The longest serving head coach in Greece at the time, Ferrando initially tried to power through it but after a week had to be admitted to the hospital. A heavy regimen of treatment followed to deal with the rare condition that required him to dedicate the whole day to receiving medicine and visiting doctors.
Towards the end of December, Ferrando had to step down as the Volos manager. Since then, he has been trying hard to regain full health. At one point, even reading a newspaper and watching TV put too much strain on his eyes, but carrying on with the treatment provided led to a slow improvement in his health.
It may be a good few months before Juan Ferrando finally arrives in Goa to take charge of the club. Some estimates put the start of ISL 2020-21 season in October or November. By then, the 39 year old is expected to be much further along his path to full recovery. In any case, he has the experienced hands of Derrick Pereira and Clifford Miranda to ease him into the role of the most high profile club football manager in India right now.
The next season is going to be the most crucial in the history of FC Goa, as they are going to play in the AFC Champions League group stage. Given Ferrando's record of taking a club to a higher level of competition and delivering results, added to his experience in European continental football, appears to make him a good fit for the job.