Aussie coach Papas back in Oz after Indian stint

Arthur Papas has resigned as head coach of Indian I-League side Dempo SC with the former Jets and Heart assistant coach set to return to Australia.

The 35-year-old AFC Pro-License Holder enjoyed a three-year expedition in India.

This also included being an assistant to Brazilian legend Zico at FC Goa in the recently completed inaugural season of the Indian Super League.

“I wish to thank Mr. Shrinivas Dempo, support staff and the players for the time I’ve enjoyed at Dempo SC, and wish the Club continued success for the rest of the season and beyond,” said Papas.

“The decision to leave has not been an easy, and it’s one I made one month ago solely for personal reasons.

“I’ve had a remarkable journey in India in a number of varied and challenging roles. It’s been a great learning experience for me both in a football sense and more broadly as a life experience.

“I’ve made many lifelong friendships here and I will forever keep a keen eye on the progress of football in the region.”

Papas’ journey on the subcontinent began with the All India Football Federation in 2012, at the invitation of former Football Federation Australia technical boss Rob Baan. 

The former Newcastle Jets Assistant and AIS Scholarship Coach was charged with a restructure of India’s youth development programs, before graduating to dual roles with the nation’s Olympic team and Pailan Arrows – the national youth team that competed in the top flight I-League.

Papas’ efforts with the Arrows saw him nominated for coach of the year honors, despite being the youngest ever manager in league history.

India’s under-22 team achieved its best ever results on the Asian stage under Papas’ tutelage.

The 2011 Victorian Premier League Coach of the Year joined Goa-based Dempo SC in 2013 and in that period guided the Club to a top four in the league as well as reaching the semi-finals and finals of the Federation Cup in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

During his two-year stint with Dempo, Papas identified and nurtured a host of young domestic talent, with as many as 11 players selected as part of India’s national team setups.

“I’ve had a hectic few years, and I’m looking forward to some down time before I take up my next football challenge,” said Papas.