NorthEast United FC have appointed Israeli coach Marco Balbul to take charge of the team for the upcoming season, IFTWC can confirm.
The Highlanders have been in advanced talks with Marco Balbul in recent times. But it’s now confirmed that the 54-year-old former Israel National team assistant coach will lead the NorthEast United FC team in the next season. In the 160 games Marco Balbul has managed in the Israeli First Division, the 54-year-old has recorded 74 victories, 42 draws, and 44 defeats.
About coach Marco Balbul and his previous stints
Marco Balbul began his coaching career at the Israeli club Maccabi Haifa in 2002. He worked as an assistant manager for the club till 2005. One year later he switched to another Israeli club called Maccabi Netanya and continued with the same role as his previous club.
He left the club in 2007 when he was offered a role to become the first team manager at Hapoel Beer Sheva. But due to difficult circumstances, his stay at the club was short-lived and he parted way during the midseason.
He later continued his career as assistant manager at the Israeli club at Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2008/09 season. After that Marco was again appointed as the head coach of Bnei Sakhnin for the 2009/10 season.
In 2011 he took charge of the Petah Tikva senior team. Bulbul’s only stint outside Israel was in 2012 when he worked as Serbian club FK Partizan Belgrade’s assistant manager. After returning from Serbia, Balbul was reappointed as the head coach of Bnei Sakhnin from 2013 to 2014. Later on, he was assigned to lead Maccabi Haifa’s senior team for a short time in the 2014/15 season.
Balbul has also been associated with the Israeli U21 National Team; serving as the manager of the U21 side between 2016 and 2018. He led the Israeli U21 team in seventeen games, winning seven and losing four matches in the Euro U21 Qualifiers.
After that Marco returned to Maccabi Haifa for his second first-team managerial stint at the club. Under his charge from 2018 to 2020, the team won 40 out of the 60 games the team played while drawing 12 matches and losing the other 13 matches.
His most recent position was also at the Israel National team from 2021 as an assistant manager, which he left in February of this year.
He was appointed as the interim manager after Willi Ruttensteiner left the national team, but was sacked soon after over differences in the selection of players for the national team with the General Manager of Israel’s football federation.
Under Khalid Jamil’s leadership, NorthEast United FC finished tenth in the league last season, one spot shy of the wooden spoon. To add more to it the team conceded the league’s joint highest number of goals last season. Since parting ways with The Highlanders, Jamil has been hired as FC Bengaluru United’s new head coach.
While NorthEast United FC have been less active in the summer transfer market compared to other ISL teams so far, it is anticipated that now the coach has been hired, their activities will gain more momentum soon.
The Highlanders will be eagerly looking to qualify for the ISL playoffs next season under head coach Marco Balbul. The club has only achieved this feat twice before, the first time in 2018/19 under coach Eelco Schattorie, while the second one was under coach Khalid Jamil in the 2020/21 season.
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