Odisha FC on Tuesday appointed Francisco Kiko Ramirez Gonzalez as the head coach ahead of the upcoming eighth season of the Indian Super League (ISL). The 51-year-old Spaniard has signed for the Bhubaneswar-based franchise for a year with an option to extend after the season.
After his retirement from professional football as a player, Ramirez started his coaching career with Spanish club Gimnastic as its assistant coach first in 2002 and then as its youth coach. In 2010, he joined Pobla Mafumet and returned to Gimnastic again in 2012. He has also coached other Spanish clubs like CE L'Hospitalet, CD Castellon, and CE Sabadell. He was the second coach at Nastic de Tarragona in the first division in Spain as well. His first foreign assignment was with Polish football club Wisla Krakow in 2017 and before coming to India, the UEFA Pro License holder was the manager of Greek professional side AO Xanthi FC in 2019.
Born in Tarragona, Spain, Ramirez had started his football career with Gimnastic's youth team and was then promoted to the senior side. He had also represented many other clubs in Spain including Sabadell, Malaga, Ceuta, Cartagonova among others before deciding to hang his boots and taking up coaching.
Speaking about the appointment, club president Raj Athwal said, “We are delighted to welcome Ramirez to the Odisha FC family. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the club and has an impressive record with the clubs he has managed in Europe. I am sure our supporters and everyone in Odisha will welcome Ramirez with open arms."
Ramirez was also excited after signing for the club. “I am very much excited to arrive in India and start working on this amazing project with Odisha FC to make our fans feel proud of the team. We are going to work hard to build a strong team with good players that represent our fan base."
OFC has also roped in the services of Joaquin Kino and Garcia Sanchez as assistant coach and head of football development ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season.