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PKL 2021: Meet the coaches of all the 12 teams in the league

As the eighth season of the PKL nears with each passing minute, here we take a look at the head coach of each team.

Rakesh Kumar and Anup Kumar

Former teammates turned coaching rivals Rakesh Kumar and Anup Kumar


Vaibhav Borse

Updated: 13 Dec 2021 1:26 PM GMT

Kabaddi is a unique sport where a coach is responsible for coaching and managing roles at the same time. He who is the in-charge of the franchise and is accountable for all important aspects of the team. Hence we have coaches getting huge credits for their triumphs.

As the eighth season of the PKL nears with each passing minute, here we take a look at the head coach of each and every team.

Jasveer Singh - UP Yoddha

Jasveer Singh was part of Services during his playing days. He joined UP Yodhha as head coach in 2018, inspiring an underdog squad to the playoffs for consecutive seasons. His style of coaching focuses on the importance of team contribution but it may take a shift after the arrival of Pardeep Narwal. He is considered a player's man as many Yoddha players like Shrikant Jadhav claim to receive more freedom under him.

Rajaguru Subramanian - U Mumba

Not a long ago when we used to see Rajaguru Subramanian operating the right cover position of U Mumba defense. The former Telugu Titans captain is the latest addition to the list of Pro Kabaddi players turned coaches.

Rajaguru was part of U Mumba's last two successful campaigns where his role was more of a mentor for youngsters. His bright impression led the franchise to offer him this role immediately after he decided to hang boots. U Mumba will be facing Bengaluru Bulls in the inaugural match of the season where Rajaguru will become the first player to play and head coach the same franchise.

Sanjeev Baliyan - Jaipur Pink Panthers

Arjuna Awardee Sanjeev Baliyan was part of arch-rivals U Mumba's coaching staff last season. His performance with U Mumba attracted Jaipur Pink Panthers management to hire him. The former Indian captain will be replacing Srinivas Reddy at Jaipur who failed to meet the expectations of the Abhishek Bachchan owned franchise. Former U Mumba coach Upendra Kumar also followed the same path by joining Pink Panthers as an assistant of Baliyan.

Krishan Kumar Hooda - Dabang Delhi KC

Krishan Kumar Hooda was recently honoured with the Dronacharya award by Sports Ministry. The prestigious award depicts the dignity of the former Asian Games winning gaffer. Dabang Delhi finished as the runner up in both seasons since his arrival in Delhi's camp. His guidance played a crucial role in the rise of Dabang Delhi and their raiding sensation Naveen Kumar Goyat. The Dabangs will be expecting his guidance helps them to claim the prize which they missed narrowly in the last two attempts.

J Udayakumar - Tamil Thalaivas

Udayakumar has been retained by the Tamil Thalaivas side ahead of the highly anticipated season eight. He will continue his position as the head coach despite Thalaivas finishing the previous season with the wooden sppon. He had a long term association with another southern side Telugu Titans. Unlike every other southern coach, Udayakumar has a strong reactionary image with aggression which forces his players to execute his plan accordingly.

Jagadeesh Kumble - Telugu Titans

The 48-year-old vigilant gaffer hails from Kasaragod in Kerala where he also owns a Kabaddi Academy. Jagadeesh takes the pride of being the only Keralite to win Asian Games gold in Kabaddi while representing the nation in Busan 2002. He Bengal Warriors in 2017 after spending seven years as the head coach of the Indian Army side. Kumble then switched to Titans in 2019 and will continue to train the yellow and blacks for another season.

BC Ramesh - Bengal Warriors

Bengal Warriors were crowned with the 2019 Pro Kabaddi League title under the watch of BC Ramesh. He arrived at Bengal's camp after being part of Bengaluru Bulls' title-winning coaching staff. Bengal retained their gaffer with the hope to continue this run for yet another season. And he will be also eying on a hat-trick of Pro Kabaddi titles.

Ram Mehar Singh - Patna Pirates

Patna Pirates' post-Pardeep era begins under the same gaffer who guided them to the glory thrice in the past. Arjuna Awardee Ram Mehar Singh has vast experience of coaching the Air Force and Indian National side as well. He is also handed over the responsibility of Deputy Sports Director of Haryana state by government authority. Fans will be eagerly waiting to see that Ram Mehar Singh will change his tactics or continue with a raid-centric approach with this new roster.

Manpreet Singh - Gujarat Giants

The former Pro Kabaddi winning captain is ready to take charge of Gujarat Giants for the fourth consecutive season. Although Gujarat's 2019 campaign was forgettable where Giants failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time.

Apart from coaching, Manpreet Singh was also involved in administration at Punjab State Kabaddi Association. Manpreet created his profile as a coach whose tactics are centred around his defenders. And after the arrival of defensive stalwarts Ravinder Pahal and Girish Ernak, Gujarat Giants' defence seems unbeatable on paper.

Randhir Singh Sehrawat - Bengaluru Bulls

The city of Bengaluru belongs to this gaffer who turned it to into the new fort of Pro Kabaddi. Randhir Singh Sehrawat has played a pivotal role in the rise of his both beloved sides, Indian Railways and Bengaluru Bulls. Bengaluru went through many transition periods but the face at the coach's corner remained the same.

He also provided gigantic support to the players like Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Mahender Singh who joined Bulls as youngsters and became stars. His coaching style and persona allows players to express themselves without any pressure. Coach Randhir and his scholar Pawan are ready to prolong Bengaluru's golden run in Pro Kabaddi for another season.

Rakesh Kumar - Haryana Steelers

When Pro Kabaddi League commenced, Rakesh stepped on the mat as the highest-paid player and now he is here as a coach. The Arjuna Awardee is regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time in the sport.

Rakesh turned up for a coaching job in 2019 for Haryana and he was eight years younger than their captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan. Rakesh had an impressive coaching debut with the Steelers seeding the first chapter of his new career. His former U Mumba teammate Surender Nada will be his general for the upcoming season.

Anup Kumar - Puneri Paltan

Anup Kumar is a Kabaddi personality that needs no introduction. The former world cup winning captain had a decorated playing career leaving behind a legacy that is almost impossible to match in terms of impact. He captained U Mumba for five seasons before switching to Jaipur Pink Panthers in the sixth season and then turned up for coaching Puneri Paltan in seventh.

Anup's game knowledge and intelligence are considered the greatest in modern-day Kabaddi. Paltan must be expecting Anup to guide them to the glory which he brought to their Maharashtrian rivals U Mumba as a captain.

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