Aussie coach heads home after three years in India

Australian trailblazer Arthur Papas is preparing for his next challenge at home after resigning as head coach of I-League side Dempo SC.

The decision to leave India after three years was a tough one for the 35-year-old, who decided it was time to head back to Australia.

“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,” Papas said.

“The decision to leave has not been an easy, and it’s one I made a 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."

Papas’ adventure 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 manager was charged with the 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 competes in the Indian topflight.

Papas’ efforts with the Arrows saw him nominated for coach of the year honours while India’s under-22 team achieved its best ever results on the Asian stage during his tenure.

The 2011 Victorian Premier League Coach of the Year then joined Goa-based Dempo SC in 2013, guiding the club to a top four finish in the league and 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 for India’s national team setups.

The Melbourne-native was also part of the recently completed inaugural season of the Indian Super League as assistant to Brazilian legend Zico with FC Goa.

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