The Indian Super League's (ISL) Pune franchise, FC Pune City, have named Ranko Popovic as the new head coach for the coming season.
Goal were the first to report about former coach Antonio Habas' exit from the club that paved the way for the Serbian who was signed as a replacement in place of the outgoing Afshin Gotbi at Thai League side Burriram United as well where Popovic last coached.
The new Pune City coach was suspended for three months in the Thai League in June for slapping an opponent team's physiotherapist that led to his resignation.
Popovic has ample experience coaching teams in the J1 League such as Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Cerezo Osaka other than a few other Japanese sides after beginning at Austrian club TuS FC Arnfels and FC Pachern. He led FC Spartak Subotica in the Serbian SuperLiga midway through his managerial career.
The 50-year-old enjoyed an opportunity to train Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan during his stint at Cerezo Osaka during which Popovic can boast of tutoring a bunch of young players who would evetually be called up to the national team and of the record of scoring the maximum number of goals for two seasons.
Also accounting for his experience in Europe, Popovic led Segunda Division club Real Zaragoza and took them to finals of the La Liga play-offs in the 2014/15 season. At his last club before coming to India, he won the Thai League Cup and Mekong Club Championship with Buriram United FC.
“In Ranko, we have a manager with distinguished coaching career spanning 15 years," FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel elicited. "His successful stints in different leagues vastly differing in cultural environment and football ecosystem, especially in Asia, makes him very relevant for a Club like ours," he continued.
"Ranko is multilingual and believes strongly in developing youth players. Spending time with him in Pune, I was impressed with his depth of knowledge of the game, motivation to succeed and ability to seamlessly work with our Indian staff.”
“I am delighted to be joining FC Pune City. The people at the club, their vision and their values together with the opportunity to develop and build this team to its full potential made this an offer that was difficult to turn down. I can’t wait to get started,” commented Ranko Popovic.