Kolkata: Indian Super League based franchise FC Pune City on Monday announced Serbian Ranko Popovic as their head coach for the upcoming fourth edition of the ISL. The former FC Tokyo and Zaragoza coach will replace Antonio Habas, who parted ways with the club earlier this month.
“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.” said Popovic, the newly appointed coach.
Ranko began his managerial career in 2001, with Austrian club TuS FC Arnfels before managing, another Austrian club FC Pachern from 2004-2006. He also worked as an assistant coach in clubs like Sturm Graz and Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the J1 league in Japan. In 2009, he became the head coach of Japanese club Oita Trinita.
The 50-year-old also had the honour of coaching numerous clubs in the Japanese league that included stints with FC Tokyo and Cerezo Osaka, with the highlight being the signing of Uruguayan star and 2010 World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan.
In 2014-15, Popovicc joined Spanish club Real Zaragoza leading them to the final of the La -Liga playoffs in the segunda division.
The former Almeria player has the knack for promoting youngsters to the senior team. During his association with a host of Japanese clubs, he brought in many young players, most of whom now play for the national team.
Gaurav Modwel, CEO of the club said, “In Ranko, we have a manager with distinguished coaching career spanning 15 years.”
“His successful stints in different leagues vastly differing in cultural environment and football ecosystem, especially in Asia, makes him very relevant for FC Pune City. Ranko is multilingual and believes strongly in developing youth players.” He added, 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,” he added.