ISL 2018-19: Mehrajuddin Wadoo reunites with FC Pune City as youth team coach
The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Bollywood star Arjun Kapoor co-owned club FC Pune City has appointed former Indian national team footballer Mehrajuddin Wadoo as the coach for their Under-18 team. The defender will begin his career as a coach by reuniting with the club four years after he played for them in the inaugural season of Indian Super League.
Speaking on the appointment of the Jammu & Kashmir player, FC Pune City technical director Pradhyum Reddy said, “The mark of a progressive club isn’t just to bring through talent from our youth teams, but to also develop our own coaches.
"Mehrajuddin has the experience of having represented FC Pune City as well as has had a highly decorated career in Indian football. His versatility and hard work which enabled him to succeed as a player and his core values which he has demonstrated on his coaching career are the reasons that he will be the ideal role model to help groom our next crop of youngsters.”
In his illustrious career, the Srinagar-born defender plied his trade for the likes of HAL, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Salgaocar before making his ISL debut in 2014 with FC Pune City. He later joined Chennaiyin FC with whom he won the ISL title.
Last year, he represented Mumbai City FC before hanging up his playing boots at the end of the season. The 34-year-old had a fruitful international career, having represented the India 32 times.
He scored the winning goal against Bangladesh in the SAFF Cup final at Karachi in December 2005. He was a part of the Indian team that won Nehru Cup 2007, the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 and the Nehru Cup in 2009.
Mehrajuddin turned to coaching last year, having launched the State Football Academy in his native state and has been actively overseeing its functioning. He appeared for his AFC ‘A’ License coaching this summer and has now taken up the role of head coach for the club’s Under-18 team.
Expressing his happiness, Mehrajuddin said he is looking forward to his first professional coaching assignment. “I am happy to be back with FC Pune City, but this time as a coach. Their youth system is one of the most professionally run in the country and the fact that so many of their players are playing in first teams of various clubs is a testimony of their commitment to develop and give platform to the right potential.
"I want to give back to the sport that’s given me so much and at FC Pune City, I will be able to do that.”
Mehrajuddin will be joined by Ramesh Bista, who has previously worked with DSK Shivajians International Football Academy in Pune. Ramesh is also completing his AFC ‘A’ License coaching programme.