I-League 2018-19: Paul Munster Resigns as Minerva Punjab Coach
Minerva Punjab, the I-League defending champions, have let go of their Head Coach Paul Munster after a poor run in recent matches.
Munster claims to have resigned "due to personal reasons" but Minerva's position in the I-League table could have been a factor in his decision to quit the club.
Minerva are ninth in the table on 14 points with just 3 wins this season. Their last victory came against East Bengal back on December 4 and have been on a nine-game winless run since then.
They lost to Shillong Lajong, Aizawl FC and Indian Arrows in succession and losing to teams in the bottom half of the table saw Minerva drop down to ninth on the table.
Minerva said assistant coach Sachin Badadhe will take over as the interim head coach. Surinder Singh, the technical director of Minerva, will assist Badadhe.
Munster is a former striker from Northern Ireland and has coached teams in Sweden since 2012. Munster took over Minerva from Khogen Singh, who led them to the title last season.
In a statement, Munster said he's heading back to Sweden and wished the club the best.
"Due to personal reasons, I have decided to move back to Sweden and pursue my career there. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Minerva Punjab FC and I am leaving with a heavy heart, I wish the team and the club the very best of luck for the remaining season."
Team owner Ranjit Bajaj said: "I am very sad to see Paul go, he is more than just a coach. He's been a great friend and confidante. Though it came out of the blue, I understand and respect his decision. I have nothing but best wishes for Paul."
Minerva Punjab may not be alive in the I-League title race anymore. They are 19 points adrift of leaders Chennai City FC with only 2 games to play.
However, Minerva have an important AFC Champions League qualifier lined up against Saipa FC of Iran on February 12. Saipa is coached by the legendary goalscorer Ali Daei, who is the all-time top scorer in international football with 109 goals.