NorthEast United FC have appointed Juan Pedro Benali as their head coach on a 1+1 year deal, the club announced the signing through their social media handles on Monday. Benali has huge experience of coaching in the last three decades and he has coached teams in Europe, Asia, and Africa during his glorious career.
He has also served as the Technical Assistant for the Finnish national team and he will be looking to get the best out of the Highlanders players.
Speaking on the appointment, Mr. Benali said “It is a great honour for me to accept the appointment as the Head Coach of NEUFC. I am incredibly excited to embark on this journey with the Club as we look to build a competitive team that can challenge at the highest levels.”
Benali took RS Berkane to the finals of African Super Cup in 2021. The 54-year-old won the UAE Cup with Sharjah Football Club in 2003 and also reached the semi-finals of the Arab Cup with Moroccan club SCC Mohammedia in 2001.
Thus, the Spaniard will be looking to make most of his experience and guide the players on the right path. Meanwhile, many young Indian players have risen through the ranks from the NorthEast part of the country.
Speaking on the talent that exists in the region, Mr. Benali said, “The Northeast region is the heart of Indian football and is home to some of the country’s best footballing talent that we will look to nurture. The region also has very passionate and knowledgeable fans, and I will try my best to make them proud.”
Speaking on the appointment NorthEast United CEO, Mandar Tamhane said, “We are delighted to welcome Juan to the Club. Not only is Juan a fantastic coach and a master tactician, but he also has the unique experience of managing in three different continents across the world. The diversity of the teams he has coached is a testament to his evolving tactical style and his knowledge of the global footballing landscape. His experience at the Youth level will also help us in creating a pathway for the talent from the region.”
Meanwhile, NorthEast United FC could not tick the right boxes as a unit in ISL 2022-23 season. The club could only manage a solitary win in 20 matches of the league stage and finished as wooden-spooners of the tournament.
However, the Highlanders qualified for the Hero Super Cup semifinals after stunning Mumbai City FC by 2-1 and beating Churchill Brothers by 6-3 but their journey was put paid by eventual champions Odisha FC.