Francisco Kiko Ramirez Gonzalez was named head coach of Odisha FC on Tuesday, prior to the Indian Super League’s upcoming 8th edition. The 51-year-old Spaniard has also had the option to extend his contract beyond this season with the Bhubaneshwar based franchise.
Ramirez began his coaching career with Spanish club Gimnastic in 2002 as an assistant coach and then as the club’s youth coach after retiring from professional football as a player.
Speaking about the appointment, Club President Raj Athwal expressed, “We are delighted to welcome Coach Ramirez to the Odisha 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. Throughout the process, he impressed with his vision and ambition and demonstrated a desire to create a winning mentality at Odisha Football Club. I am sure our supporters and everyone in Odisha will welcome Coach Ramirez with open arms. We wish him well in achieving success for our football club.”
He joined Pobla Mafumet in 2010 and returned to Gimnastic in 2012. Other Spanish clubs he has coached include CE L’Hospitalet, CD Castellon, and CE Sabadell. He was also the second coach of Nastic de Tarragona in Spain’s top division. His first international appointment was with the Polish sports team Wisla Krakow in 2017, and he was the coach of the Greek professional side AO Xanthi FC in 2019.
After signing for the Club, Coach Ramírez mentioned, “I am very 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.”
Ramirez, who was born in Tarragona, Spain, began his football career with Gimnastic’s junior squad before being promoted to the main club. He also played for a number of other sides in Spain, including Sabadell, Malaga, Ceuta, and Cartagonova, before opting to retire and pursue a coaching career.
OFC has also roped in the services of Joaquin Kino and Garcia Sanchez as an assistant coach and head of football development ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season.