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Pro Kabaddi 2023: U Mumba announce new coaches for the season

MUMBAI: U Mumba have announced the appointment of Gholamreza Mazandarani, KC Suthar and Jeeva Kumar as the new coaches for Season 10 of the Pro Kabaddi League.

Mazandarani returns for his second stint with U Mumba since taking U Mumba to the playoffs in 2018. However, this will be the first outing for reputed Indian coach KC Suthar in the Pro Kabaddi League. Completing the trio will be former U Mumba player and Indian Kabaddi legend Jeeva Kumar who would be joining the team as a Defensive coach, a media release said.

Gholamreza Mazandarani is currently the head coach of Iran’s national Kabaddi team for the Asian games scheduled to be held later this year and famously Coached Iran to Asian Games Gold in 2018, displacing India for the first time in history. He is a pro freestyle wrestler who went on to play Judo and Kabaddi and has the unique distinction of leading Iran as a Captain and a Coach at the Asian Games. Mazandarani is known to be one of the world’s finest minds in Kabaddi and became the PKL’s first international coach in Season 6 with U Mumba, as he guided the team to the Playoffs.

KC Suthar, also one of the most respected names among Kabaddi coaching ranks joins Gholamreza and has been the former coach of the Indian national team and also worked extensively as a Head Coach of Iran’s national team, leading them to a Silver medal at the Kabaddi World Cup held in Ahmedabad, in 2016. He has also coached the coveted Sports Authority of India’s Kabaddi team from 1986 to 2016 at their centres in Gandhinagar and Mumbai.

Multiple current and former players of PKL have grown and tasted success under KC Suthar, including the likes of Manpreet Singh, Pankaj Shirsat, Neer Gulia and former Mumboy Rakesh Kumar, to name a few.

Finally, hailing from Kanyakumari, Jeeva Kumar is an Indian & U Mumba Kabaddi legend who won a Gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games, Guangzhou and was a part of the U Mumba family as a player from PKL Season 1 to 4, where he went on to win the Championship in 2015. He represented the city of dreams for 52 matches amassing 164 points during his tenure and was arguably known to be the best Left Cover defender in the world. Jeeva won his second PKL title as a player with Dabang Delhi in Season 8 after which he hung up his playing boots to then help UP Yoddhas qualify for the Playoffs as an Assistant Coach. He now joins KC Suthar and Gholamreza as a Defensive Coach for Season 10.

Photo Courtesy - U Mumba

Commenting on the appointments, Suhail Chandhok, CEO, U Mumbai said, “We are delighted to welcome back Gholam along with Suthar ji and also welcome back an old U Mumba family member and icon in Jeeva. Over the years we have witnessed Coaches who have worked together as a pair and guided teams to success in the league. As season 10 beckons, we wanted to apply a similar formula with a team of like-minded, value-driven coaches who from their own experience can make a long-term impact on player development and drive the strong, united team culture forward. Gholam impressed everyone during his first tenure and Suthar ji who is a reputed Coach, brings his experience & success of working in Iran with their kabaddi team and with youngsters at SAI, which helps create synergy with Gholam and unlock the potential of our young players. “Jeeva anna” seamlessly fits into our team with his work ethics shown first as a player and then as an Assistant coach. He is one of the sport’s most respected players with an immense love for U Mumba, having been with the team through the initial glory days and will work closely work with both coaches to help further strengthen our defensive unit.”

“I would like to thank Ronnie and Suhail for trusting me again to lead U Mumba to great heights. It feels like a homecoming for me as the fans of U Mumba have always been very supportive over the years and I am extremely happy to partner with Suthar whom I have already worked alongside in Iran. I have deep respect for his work & impact in the Kabaddi ecosystem and Jeeva coming back to U Mumba as a Coach will be an asset to work with. I can’t wait to meet the fans in Mumbai and work with the team. We will try and create a legacy of playing attractive kabaddi which the fans will be proud of,” Mazandarani said as he expressed delight on joining U Mumba.

On joining the coaching team, KC Suthar said, “Firstly, I would like to thank the U Mumba management for showing their trust in me. Secondly, I am delighted to partner with Gholam and Jeeva in bringing success to the team in the upcoming season 10 of PKL. U Mumba has always promoted new young talents from across the globe and we will continue to do so. The Auction and the work before this season hence will be critical as we build a strong team for the future.”

On making a comeback to U Mumba, legend Jeeva added. “U Mumba is my Home. I have played for this franchise for the first four years of my PKL career and have incredible memories on and off court. The team ethics and culture is something that I have always been proud to represent and I look forward to coming back to that and building it within the young players. I had an excellent time with the fans as a player who showered me with love and I hope to see them continue to support me and the team as we want to bring them more joy in this upcoming season 10 of PKL and beyond.”

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