Pune: Indian Super League side FC Pune City today reinforced their midfield options by snapping experienced footballer Arata Izumi for the third edition of the league this year.
Izumi, who last plied his trade in ISL for Atletico de Kolkata, will join his former ATK coach Antonio Habas here. Arata, whose Indian name is Neelkanth Khambolja, started his professional 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. Arata then shifted base to newly promoted I-League team Pune FC in 2009. Since then he has not looked back. In 2012, he gained Indian citizenship and a few months later he made
his India debut also.
In the ISL, 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 expressed delight to have Arata in FC Pune City.
"Arata's work ethic and commitment to the team he plays for is unparallelled. 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."
Arata 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.
"Nothing can replace experience. Arata is a seasoned campaigner with exceptional football skills and his addition will make us a formidable unit," said Hrithik.