Jamshedpur FC have signed Antonio Iriondo Ortega as their head coach for the 2019-20 season. The Spaniard joins JFC after managing various clubs in Spain’s LaLiga, Segunda Division and Segunda B in a 27-year-long career.
Jamshedpur FC Chairman and Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary gave the coach a warm welcome as he said, “We’re delighted to welcome Antonio Iriondo to Jamshedpur FC. He comes with a proven and extensive track record. We’re confident that he is the right person for the job and that he will work to deliver the triumphs our fans and everyone involved with the club crave for. We conducted a wide-ranging and rigorous search involving extensive background references and analysis. We were unanimous in our choice of Antonio to drive the next chapter of our club.”
Antonio comes with a massive pedigree having managed 985 games during his entire career, back to 1992. The 65-year-old started his career at Carabanchel, who were then a Segunda Bside. Later, he switched to Rayo Majadahonda where he worked for 4 years.
After his first stint with Rayo Majadahonda, he managed Tercera Division B clubs Amoros, Manchego, Madridejos and Atletico Pinto. Antonio was then appointed as the head coach for Rayo Vallecano B in 2002 and was later promoted to their senior team (who played in LaLiga) as an interim head coach for nine matches towards the end of the 2002-03 season. Subsequently, Antonio was appointed at the helm of UD San Sebastián de Los Reyes, CD Toledo (two stints), San Fernando CD (two stints) and then started his second stint in 2012 at Rayo Majadahonda. With the latter, he achieved promotion to the third division in 2015, and took the club to the playoffs for the first time in their history in 2017. In the 2017-18 season, Antonio achieved promotion to Segunda División with Rayo Majadahonda, after beating FC Cartagena in the play-offs. Antonio ended his seven-year-long spell at the club in 2019 before joining the Jharkhand-based Indian Super League club Jamshedpur FC.
On his appointment, Antonio said, “I am thrilled to be joining a club of Jamshedpur FC’s stature. The philosophy along with the grassroots and youth development structure that the club follows is the right way forward. I’m excited about what we can do together, and I look forward to giving everyone who loves the club some special moments.”
Along with his own vast experience, Antonio will also be having a competent and seasoned technical staff to assist him in his new endeavor. Victor Herrero Forcada, also known as Pulga, has been signed as the assistant coach. Pulga has prior experience of playing in the Indian Super League as he spent three seasons with Kerala Blasters FC (2014, 2015 & 2018). The goalkeeping coach and fitness coach signed to work with the new head coach will be Alfonso Lacasa Taberne and Muñoz Miguel Luis, both of whom have also worked with the new Jamshedpur FC head coach at his former club Rayo Majadahonda.
On signing the new head coach, Jamshedpur FC CEO, Mr. Mukul Choudhari said, “In Antonio, we have appointed a very experienced head coach. His methodology and passionate approach along with his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.”
On his first visit to Jamshedpur, Antonio was taken through the facilities at the Jamshedpur FC Training Facility (Flatlets), Tata Football Academy and JRD Tata Sports Complex. The Spaniard will join back later when the squad arrives, to commence pre-season training and prepare for the football season 2019-20.