Arata Izumi on Wednesday signed for FC Pune City for the 2016 edition of the ISL, ending his association with Atletico de Kolkata. The 33-year old midfielder, who scored five goals in 11 appearances last season, will re-unite with Antonio Habas, his coach from the Kolkata side.
The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Hrithik Roshan co-owned Indian Super League club FC Pune City reinforced their midfield options by snapping experienced campaigner Arata Izumi for the 2016 edition of the league. Izumi, who last plied his trade in ISL for Atletico De Kolkata, will join his former ATK coach Antonio Habas here.
FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel said, “A very experienced and versatile midfielder, Arata stood out for me among the Indian players in ISL 2 with a tally of 5 goals. I am extremely excited to have him in the squad and feel he has a critical role to play. Moreover for our supporters, it's an added joy to see him return to Pune.”
Arata Izumi, whose Indian name is Neelkanth Khambolja, started his professional football career in Singapore League followed by a stint in one of the most competitive league in Asia, the Japan Football League representing Mitsubishi Mizushima. In November 2006, he first entered India, representing East Bengal followed by a two-season spell at Mahindra United.
Izumi then shifted base to newly promoted I League team Pune FC in 2009. Since then he hasn’t looked back. In 2012, he gained Indian citizenship and a few months later he made his India debut also. In Indian Super League, he represented the Kolkata franchise in 2015 where his two late goals coming in as a substitute against Kerala Blasters stood out the most.
Head coach Antonio Habas is delighted to rekindle his partnership with Arata in FC Pune City. “Arata’s work ethic and commitment to the team he plays for is unparalleled. He is a great reader of the game and has characteristics that will integrate with my style of play. He fits perfectly into our plans for the coming season.”
Izumi was thrilled to join Habas at FC Pune City. “I am very excited about playing for FC Pune City. I’m familiar with coach Habas and have also played a lot of my career in Pune FC. I am eager to connect with my roaring fans in orange army. So in a lot of ways, it's like home coming for me and I am looking forward to it,” said Arata.
Co-owner and Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan welcomed Arata Izumi. “Nothing can replace experience. Arata is a seasoned campaigner with exceptional football skills and his addition will make us a formidable unit."
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