Gouramangi takes up coaching post with Bengaluru United

Gouramangi Singh

After years of shoring up defences for club and country, Gouramangi Singh Moirangthem has moved away from the field for a seat at the dugout. The centre back, who played 71 times for the senior Indian national team, is now the first team coach at FC Bengaluru United, a BDFA Super Division club in the city who are also set to play in the Second Division League.

Having last turned out for NEROCA FC in the 2017-18 season, the former defender's transition has been a quiet one. By then already a D license holder in coaching, it was just a matter of time.

"To be honest, NEROCA wanted me to come back and play the I-League but I can't have two feet in different places. So, I had to either play or coach. Even here (at FCBU) they asked if I can play but me and Richard Hood (head coach) are both growing together as a team here," said the former Churchill Brothers star who won the I-League, two IFA Shields and Durand Cups during his five years with the Goan giants.

"I do miss the training and I do feel I can play for another couple of years. But right now, I'm trying to get the rest of the coaching licenses and I'm learning so much. We are playing Second Division and there's vision here for the club. The roadmap (for Indian football) is now there so we can qualify for the ISL in 2024... I'm here for this season for sure. I cannot say it but I'd love to come back. But for now I'm focused."

The 33-year-old credited Savio Medeira, who was the assistant coach for the national team during his playing career, and Hood for their role in getting him to Bengaluru and waved off questions of why not wait out for a position with an ISL club.

"It's not about cozy or the level. Richard is A license holder in coaching and I'm definitely getting to learn so much here," he replied.

The former defender was part of the victorious Nehru Cup in 2007 and AFC Challenge Cup winning team in 2008 which secured their spot in the 2011 Asian Cup. He credits the 4-1 win over Tajikistan in the final of the latter as the highlight of his footballing career. Sunil Chhetri scored a hat-trick in that match and the two have found time, despite their busy schedules, to catch up.

"I met him on his birthday (in August). He didn't know I was here and I don't know from where he found out and called me over for dinner," Singh says with a smile. "We played for like 10-12 years together... the Bengaluru FC and Indian boys are lucky to be sharing the dressing room with him. I told him, to just keep going! He is probably the only one from our generation who is still going strong," he remarked adding that hopefully there will be a big derby in Bengaluru in the future.

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