Haryana Steelers have appointed Manpreet Singh as its head coach for Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 9.

The new Haryana Steelers coach replaces Rakesh Kumar, under whom the franchise failed to qualify for the playoffs last season after finishing seventh during the league phase.

Manpreet captained Patna Pirates to their first-ever PKL title in 2016, before calling time on an illustrious playing career. 

In 2017, he was named head coach of the newly-formed Gujarat Fortunegiants. An incredible debut season saw the Fortunegiants make their way into the final, where they went down to Patna Pirates. 

“This is an incredible team that has improved every season in the Pro Kabaddi League and I’m really glad to join. I consider myself lucky to have received this opportunity because I’ve lived in Haryana for a very long time. And as a coach, I am eager to bring the best players out of Haryana,” Manpreet said.

“I’m really motivated for the season ahead and our target is to bring the trophy home,” he added following the completion of formalities on his appointment. 

Former Kabaddi player and Dhyan Chand award recipient Manpreet has represented India at the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games. He won gold with the Indian Kabaddi team at the 2007 Kabaddi World Cup.

Meanwhile, Neer Gulia will also join Manpreet in the Steelers dugout as an assistant coach.

Gulia represented India between 2001 and 2004 and was a teammate to Singh in the 2002 Asian Games winning squad. The duo have worked alongside each other in the Gujarat Fortune Giants’ runners-up campaigns of PKL 5 and PKL 6. Gulia was also presented the Eklavya Award by the Govt of Gujarat in 2003 for his outstanding performances in sport.  

 “I’m really happy to join the Steelers family. We’ve worked together for Gujarat previously, and we have a good feeling about this team. Haryana is known for being a hotbed for Kabaddi, and we’re excited to see that it fulfils its potential. We’re eager to see the PKL coming back to Haryana, and perform better than we had in previous seasons,” said Neer Gulia. 

Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi