LNTUP

Mumbai FC hires Óscar Bruzón as their potential ‘Messiah

Photo: ISL
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Mumbai FC has hired former Sporting Clube de Goa coach Óscar Bruzón as their Head Coach(interim) for the rest of the season.

‘Coach’ maybe but the Spanish will have to become the ‘Messiah’ for the club as a herculean task of reversing the club’s unforgiving fortune in this year’s I-League and saving them from the humiliation of being relegated for the first time in their history lies ahead for Bruzón.

Mumbai FC hires Óscar Bruzón
Óscar Bruzón, the man who will have to do more than a coach Photo: ISL

Bruzón was a forward in his playing days, Being born and brought up at Vigo, he was nurtured in the academy of Celta de Vigo and also represented the club at senior level. Besides Celta, Bruzón has also played for today’s prominent name of La Liga-Universidad Las Palmas. The forward mainly played in the Segunda Division and Segunda B division of Spanish football.

In spite of these stints with some of the most prominent names in Spanish football, it did not take him much long to realise that playing was not where his future lied and he hung his boots before even reaching the thirties to concentrate on the new chapter of his life-football coaching.

He acquired the UEFA ‘A’ license authorised by Spanish Football Federation and then started coaching at youth levels. His first assignment came as the U-16 coach of Areosa CF in 2007 and he remained there for two years until his boyhood club called him. Bruzón in 2009 joined Celta as their U-14 coach and in 2010-11 was awarded ‘Best U-16 coach’ in the Galicia region.

But his first tenure at a senior side came from a highly unlikely place-India. In 2012, Panjim-based side Sporting Clube de Goa offered him a job and the Spaniard took the new challenge on the shores of the Arabian Sea on a cold night of December.

Mumbai FC hires Óscar Bruzón
Bruzón and Anelka, a relationship that never materialised, Photo: ISL

In his two years in charge in SCG, his team finished fifth and sixth in the I-League in successive seasons and also became runners-up in the Federation Cup. Sporting also won the Goa Professional League (GPL) defying the challenge of teams like Dempo, Salgaocar, Churchill, Vasco etc. He was also declared as ‘One of the best coaches in India in 2013-14′ in a gala organised by Football Players’ Association of India(FPAI).

In spite of the modest outcome, the Sporting authority did not like the oscillations in the success graph and the two decided to part ways in December 2014. Bruzón said,”The reason being few unresolved technical differences which took me to the conclusion that the objective related to a continuous improvement and development can not be fulfilled in the current conditions. So it’s time to part ways keeping our excellent harmony intact.”

Bruzón again returned to the coaching scene and again in India, but this time in ISL. He was installed as the Assistant coach of Mumbai City FC in 2015 as the deputy to Nicholas Anelka who was the player cum manager in the Mumbai franchise. But things did not move positively and the Spaniard called it a day citing the reason of ‘Difference in philosophies’ hinting at a backroom clash with the French maestro.

But football did not remain far for too long from Bruzón and this time the offer came from a Spanish outfit-RCD Mallorca. In 2016 he became the Assistant manager of Mallorca in the Segunda Division and began working under Fernando Vazquez.

But the CV of a coach(or Manager in Europe) is never complete unless one works as the head coach. So when the Essel Group offered him the coaching seat of Mumbai FC, he wasted no time and took the challenge again on the shores of the Arabian Sea, this time a bit Norther, in spite of knowing the uphill task he would be facing.

Oscar Bruzón will replace Santosh Kashyap under whom the team performed dismally as they currently lie at the nadir of the I-League table with only 10 points. The departure of their long time coach Khalid Jamil alongside players like Jayesh Rane and Asutosh Mehta has proved to be an irreparable loss to the club. While Jamil’s current club Aizawl is sitting at the top of the ladder defying all odds, his former team has become the last boys of the tournament ironically!

Santosh Kashyap, the man the Spaniard will be replacing
Santosh Kashyap, the man the Spaniard will be replacing

With DSK Shivajians, Chennai City FC and Minnerva Punjab FC being immune from relegation for 3 years by AIFF for being Franchise teams, Mumbai’s closest rivals in the relegation battle is Derek Perreira’s rejuvenated Churchill Brothers who are currently 6 points above them!
With only 4 matches remaining to play, the future of the Mumbai-based corporate club will not be controlled by their own performances only but they will have to hope for some slip ups from the family club of Goa also.

At a time when the dark clouds of relegation are increasing on the horizon of the club’s decade-long existence for the first time, the authority has relied upon Óscar Bruzón for performing the monumental task of securing their future.

Improbable it maybe but Bruzón will have some time to eradicate the identity crisis of the team during the international break. And if Mumbai FC keeps their record of never being relegated from I-League intact at the end of the season then it would be a fairytale story at the bottom of the table also and maybe ten years later when a team will be fighting relegation in Indian Football their coach will tell them the story,”Once upon a time there was Mumbai FC.……..”