IMPHAL: With less than two weeks to go for 2016/17 2nd Division League, Neroca FC have strengthened their roster by signing Japanese-born Indian midfielder Arata Izumi, who joins the Manipur based club on a season-long loan deal from ISL side FC Pune City.
Born to a Indian father and a Japanese mother, the 34-year-old gained Indian citizenship in 2012 and became eligible to represent India at international level. Arata made his international debut against Palestine in January 2013 at Kochi.
Arata, a versatile player has the capabilities of converting half chances into goals, has started his professional football career at Singapore League side Albirex Niigata FC in 2005 followed by a stint in one of the most competitive league in Asia, J-League representing Mitsubishi Mizushima.
In 2006, he moved to India with East Bengal followed by a two-season spell at Mahindra United before shifting his base to newly promoted I-League team Pune FC in 2009 where he stayed till 2015. Arata made his ISL debut in 2015 with Atletico de Kolkata and netted five times in 13 appearances and finished as Atletico de Kolkata’s second highest goal-scorer. In 2015/16 I-League, he played for Mumbai FC on loan from Atletico de Kolkata.