Ranko Popovic steps down as FC Pune City’s head coach

FC Pune City announced that their mercurial head coach Ranko Popovic has decided to leave his position at the helm of the club, as he looks forward to fresh challenges. The 2017-18 season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 was a historic one for the Stallions, as they managed to reach the playoffs for the first time since the league’s inception.

Having managed the likes of Real Zaragoza and Buriram United FC previously, Popovic’s appointment was envisioned to change the outlook of the club, which had failed to live upto expectations in the past. And he did manage to deliver the goods. Inspired by the Serbian’s style and tactics, Pune’s entire campaign was defined by an aggressive brand of football that made them one of the forces to be reckoned with in the league.

The 50-year old also showed enough faith on the club’s youth system, giving chance to as many as six young players who made impressive debuts, of which two belonged to the club’s Academy. His philosophy of scoring a goal more than the opponents ensured the Stallions ended the season with 31 goals to their name, the third highest in the league and almost more than twice of what they had scored in the previous season. Their most emphatic win came against NorthEast United FC, where they scored five past the hapless Highlanders.

Speaking about his eventful though short journey with the Stallions, Popovic shared, “FC Pune City was, is and will remain very close to my heart. The players, the support staff and the management ensured my transition was smooth and everyone played their role to perfection for us to have a great season. But the decision to part ways is one of the most toughest I have had to make for a while. The professionalism of the Management and the fan support made my job here a memorable one and I wish the Club all the best for the future.”

From Pune City’s end, the club’s CEO Gaurav Modwel spoke about Popovic’s contribution, while also informing that the name of the new Head Coach will be announced shortly. “It has been a great season for FC Pune City and thanks to Coach Ranko Popovic for making it memorable. His belief in the club’s ethos, especially the youth was remarkable, and it helped us achieve a lot and unearth the hidden talent in our system. He deserves a lot of credit for the historic run the club has had in 2017-18 ISL. But like someone has said, “All Good Things Come To An End’ and so has his journey with us. FC Pune City wishes him the best in his future endeavours. The name of the new Head Coach will be announced in due course of time,” he stated.

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