Pune FC appoint Karim Bencherifa as their new head coach

Photo Credit: Pune FC

Pune Football Club has appointed highly-experienced Moroccan coach Karim Bencherifa ahead of the 2014-15 season.

A former I-League and Federation Cup winning coach, Bencherifa becomes Pune FC’s fourth foreign coach signed since the inception in 2007.

Pune FC Owner, Nandan Piramal said: “I would like to welcome Karim to Pune FC and would like to wish him the very best of luck.”

Having coached twelve different teams in five different countries from three continents in a career spanning over two decades, Bencherifa brings along of wealth of experience. Having signed a two year contract, Head Coach Karim Bencherifa added: “I would like to thank the Pune FC management for offering me the position of chief coach of the team.

“I am excited to be associated with such an outstanding organization/ club. I am confident I would be able to make a meaningful contribution with the help of the staff, the player’s fans and everybody around the club.”

Pune FC Head Operations, Chirag Tanna, said: “Karim is an excellent fit for our club. Karim has worked well with young players and has managed to get the best out of them. His knowledge and experience on Indian football is second to none and our young players will learn a lot from him.

“I would like to wish Karim the very best of luck for the coming season.”

Forty-six year old Bencherifa, a midfielder during his playing days, plied his trade at three Rabat (Moroccan capital city) clubs - Club A.S.M.F. Rabat (1987–89), Stade Marocain (1990–92) and 3COM Rabat (1992–93) before turning to coaching.

At the start of his coaching career, Bencherifa had stints at a few capital city clubs in his native country. He worked with Club B.M. Rabat (1993-94, U23 Head Coach, 4th in D1), Club A.S.T. Rabat (1994–95, Head Coach, 3rd in D3) and Club U.S.P. Rabat (1996–97, Head Coach, 7th in D2) before being appointed at the helm of the Moroccan Womens' team (1997-98) and leading them to the Arab Championships.

During the 1997-98 season, Bencherifa was also actively involved in National Football Center, Maroc, guiding the youth players of the country.

In the following two years, he managed two more Moroccan sides, Club O.C. Youssoufia (1998-99, Head Coach Amateur D1) and Club S.A. Salé (1999–2000, Assistant Coach, D1 Pro) before heading to Europe and taking charge of Maltese Premier League side Floriana FC (2000-02).

During his two years at Floriana, Bencherifa guided them to a fifth and sixth place finish respectively.

A year later, Bencherifa was appointed the head coach of the Brunei national team (2003-04) before moving to Singapore to take charge of S-League side Tanjong Pagar United in 2004 for a short stint.

The Moroccan coach thereafter moved to another S-League side Woodlands Wellington (2004-06) guiding them to a third and fifth-place finish in the two seasons. It was in 2006 when Bencherifa first stepped on Indian soil to take charge of Goan side Churchill Brothers. During his two year stay in Goa, he guided newly promoted Churchill to a fourth (2006-07) and second (2007-08) place finish in the top-flight.

That followed a two year stint at Mohun Bagan (2008-10) where he guided the Kolkata-giants to a second and fifth place finish in the I-League.

Bencherifa returned to Goa in the following season and led Salgaocar FC to an I-League (2010-11) and a Federation Cup (2011) double in his two and a half year stint with the Vasco-based club.

Midway through the 2012-13 season, Bencherifa joined Mohun Bagan (2012-14) once again and saved them from relegation in the same season.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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